Limerick man guilty of beating girlfriend with shovel

Conor Gallagher

Reporter:

Conor Gallagher

The man was jailed for four and a half years at the Central Criminal Court
A LIMERICK city man will be sentenced next month after he was convicted of falsely imprisoning his girlfriend and beating her with a shovel until it broke.

A LIMERICK city man will be sentenced next month after he was convicted of falsely imprisoning his girlfriend and beating her with a shovel until it broke.

During a nine day trial, the Central Criminal Court was told the accused man dragged the victim, who is the mother of his child, into a car as he suspected she was seeing another man.

In her evidence, the woman said she was beaten and taken to a house where she was kept against her will.

While she told the jury she was raped “countless times” over the course of six days in May 2013, it was submitted by lawyers representing the defendant the sex was consensual and that the woman could have left the house if she wanted.

Michael Bowman SC said there was no lock on the front door and that she had “many opportunities” to escape or call for help such as when the accused passed out from drink or when she went to a local shop.

He said the woman was in phone contact with two social workers yet didn’t alert them and he also pointed to a love bite given by the woman to the accused.

The woman said on one occasion the defendant held her head under water in a basin until she started to drown and that he scalded her genitals with hot water.

She said on the sixth day she was brought to another house where the accused went into a jealous rage and beat her with a shovel until it broke.

Following six and half hours of deliberations, the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts in relation to one charge of assault and one of false imprisonment. The defendant had earlier pleaded guilty to another assault charge.

The 38-year-old defendant was acquitted of seven counts of rape and the jurors said they could not agree a verdict in relation to two other rape charges.

The Director of Public Prosecutions is to indicate by November 30 if there will be a retrial while the defendant will be sentenced in relation to assault and false imprisonment charges on December 14, next.

BMs Justice Margaret Heneghan removed the man’s bail after hearing Garda evidence that he was now considered a flight risk as a result of the convictions.

She set a sentencing date of December 14. The State will indicate whether it wants a retrial on the two rape counts on November 30.