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'Traumatised forever': Mother of three recalls false imprisonment at knife-point by ex-partner

Jennifer Haugh made her comments during her victim impact statement over her false imprisonment.

Ennis Circuit Court
Ennis Circuit Court
Image: Shutterstock

A MOTHER OF of three said that she was meant to escape and meant to live when recalling the terrifying ordeal when she was held against her will at knife-point by her ex-partner.

At Ennis Circuit Court, Jennifer Haugh (42) made her comments during her victim impact statement over her false imprisonment by her ex-partner, Gerard Garvey at a unit of  Kilkee industrial estate last August.

Garvey (49) of Marian Estate, Kilkee has also pleaded guilty to the assault causing harm of his partner of 28 years and the mother of their three children.

Haugh told gardaí that during the incident at Unit One at Kilkee industrial estate on 20 August last that Garvey told her to shut up or he would stick the knife into her and slit her throat.

According to Ms Haugh’s statement read out in court, Mr Garvey told her “you ruined my life” and he tried to cover her mouth to stop her screaming.

Haugh said that Garvey then tied her hands with orange rope and pulled her along the ground.

Haugh told gardaí that Garvey continued to threaten her that he was gong to kill her “and that he wasn’t going to leave her alive today”. 

Detective Garda Conor Flaherty said that Haugh attempted to flee and made it outside the door of Unit One shouting ‘Help me! Help me!’

Flaherty said that Garvey gave chase and caught Haugh and then banged her head off the ground a number of times and pulled her along the ground to the passenger side of a car.

Haugh’s screams alerted a woman nearby and Samantha Fennell arrived at the scene.

‘Don’t leave me’

Fennell said that Mr Garvey told her to go away and that “everything was okay”. She said that Garvey said that he was only trying to talk to Haugh.

Fennell said that Garvey said ‘Please Samantha, don’t leave me’ and that “she was screaming for help and said ‘he has two knives’.”

Fennell said as Garvey got into the driver’s seat, Haugh got out the passenger door and ran towards Fennell’s car. The two then travelled to Kilkee Garda Station where they raised the alarm.

Gardaí went to the unit and Garvey had already fled. Gardaí then issued a ‘missing persons’ alert for Garvey due to family and garda concerns for his own safety. 

Gardai arrested the man two days later in the grounds of Ennis General and during his three interviews with gardaí, Garvey maintained his right to silence. 

Flaherty said that Garvey and Haugh had also operated a shop together and said that Garvey had no previous convictions over the preceding 20 years.

In her victim impact statement, Haugh said that she isn’t the same person since Gerard Garvey imprisoned her.

She said: “I had left you many times before and this time was my last time. You had no right to do what you did to me – you had a choice.”

“I am the mother of your three children and they didn’t deserve this to happen to them either.”

Garvey has been on remand in prison since his arrest on 22 August last year. Haugh said today: “You are in prison because of your actions and you have traumatised me forever.”

She stated: “I was saved that day. I was meant to escape. I was meant to live.”

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‘Completely unhinged’

Counsel for Garvey, Patrick Whyms, told the court that the background to the incident is a domestic situation.

He said the breakdown of the couple’s relationship after 28 years in February 2018 “completely unhinged Garvey.”

Whyms said his client started to suffer from depression from March 2018 and had stopped taking his medication five weeks prior to the incident in Kilkee.

Whyms said that Garvey is disgusted with himself over his actions and wishes to apologise for what he called this “outrageous incident.”

Whyms said Mr Garvey, in his own mind, did not wish to hurt Haugh and but instead wanted to talk about the breakdown of the relationship and issues relating to the division of assets.

He said his client denies threatening to kill Haugh but has pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, the most serious charge and assault causing harm.

Whyms said this was an “awful thing” for Ms Haugh to go through and asked the court to accept it was completely “out of character” for Garvey.

Whyms submitted it was a “one off” incident and asked the court to consider suspending a portion of any sentence.

Judge Gerald Keys further remanded Garvey in custody and adjourned the case to 20 May.

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About the author:

Gordon Deegan

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