Limerick man assaulted ex-wife who was revealing text messages to new partner

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Kilmallock Court heard the man assaulted his ex-wife, who had gone to his house to tell his new partner about text messages

Kilmallock Court heard the man assaulted his ex-wife, who had gone to his house to tell his new partner about text messages

A COUNTY Limerick man assaulted his ex-wife who had gone to his house to tell his new partner about text messages her former husband continued to send her, Kilmallock Court heard.

The defendant, pleaded not guilty to one count of assault.

His solicitor said the ex-wife “did not want another woman in his bedroom” and was “fit to be tied” on the night. This was denied by her.

The incident occurred in east Limerick in January 2017. On the day before the assault the defendant’s new partner called to meet his ex-wife.

“We had a pleasant conversation. She knew about the texts he had sent me. She saw the texts on my phone. She said ‘It’s over’. She hugged me and she said ‘you will never see me again’,” said the injured party.

The following night she saw her former husband and his new partner outside his front door.

“I said to myself they must be staying together. I said I would go up to tell him to leave me alone and stop sending me messages. I know I shouldn’t have.

“I rang the bell and he started firing abuse at me. I went down and sat on the bed with her. He pulled me by my two legs, down the hall and out the front door. He was kicking me. I was dazed. Then he opened the front door again, put his hands around my neck and pinned me up against the wall,” she said.

Sergeant Michelle Leahy asked what the defendant said to her.

“‘Get the F out of here’. I wanted to show her more messages on my phone that she hadn’t seen and he wanted to prevent me from showing them to her,” said the complainant.

Sgt Leahy asked what injuries were sustained.

“I went to Shannondoc. I had a lot of bruising, my neck is still in pain. My blood pressure is up. I was in total shock,” she said.

John Herbert, solicitor for the defendant, began his cross examination of the ex-wife. She confirmed they were separated for two years.

Mr Herbert asked if she has sent a letter to her ex-husband’s new partner.

“No. I sent her the texts to show her that he was trying to see me as well,” she said.

Mr Herbert, who produced an envelope in court, put it to her that she was “annoyed”?

“I wasn’t one bit annoyed,” she said.

Mr Herbert said she wrote in her statement to gardai, “I was annoyed”.

“She [new partner] told me I would never see her again. I was still in shock when I made the statement,” she said.

Mr Herbert put it to her that she barged in to the house, in a state of “high dudgeon, fit to be tied and annoyed at both”.

“You did not want another woman in his bedroom,” said Mr Herbert.

“No, he had plenty of women up in that house. That doesn’t bother me. I was annoyed this woman lied to me,” she said.

Mr Herbert said she kicked his client in the face while on the bed.

“He did pull you out by the shoulders as it was the only way to restrain you,” said Mr Herbert.

“No, he grabbed me by the feet and repeatedly kicked me,” she said.

Mr Herbert said if his client kicked her she would have needed an ambulance and not been able to go to Shannondoc.

Mr Herbert said his client called the gardai which is very unusual behaviour for someone who had just committed a “heinous crime”.

“He knew it would look better for him,” she said. The woman’s daughter took the stand and said she went up to the house after hearing shouting. She said she saw her father kicking her mother on the floor and pinning her up by the throat outside the front door.

The defendant was the last witness. He said he came home at around 9.45pm on the night in question.

He said he and his new partner were sitting on the bed when the doorbell went.

“She [his ex-wife] shot in under my arm and went down to the bedroom. She was waving her phone, saying ‘I have more effing texts’. I said, ‘Please leave the house’.

“She kicked me twice in the face. Then the two women were on the ground fighting. I pulled the two of them - they were on top of each other - to the front door. I put her [ex-wife] out the front door and closed it,” said the defendant.

He said he didn’t pin her up by the throat.

“I didn’t kick or hit her inside the house or out. I was trying to control her. I pulled her by the shoulders as gently as I could,” he said.

Answering questions from Sgt Leahy, he said he had no problem with his ex-wife telling his new partner about the messages.

Sgt Leahy put it to him that he was “annoyed” by his ex-wife disclosing the texts.

“No,” he said.

Sgt Leahy asked why a daughter would give evidence against her father if it wasn’t true.

“It is very sad,” he said.

Mr Herbert said the assault charge should be thrown out as his client used “reasonable force” to protect himself during the course of a criminal act like trespass. And that the medical report was not consistent with the level of force described by the ex-wife.

“He did not use excessive force. If she is to believed he would have been taken away by gardai that night and he wasn’t,” said Mr Herbert.

Sgt Leahy said an independent witness has confirmed that the ex-wife was kicked and pinned up by the throat.

“That is not reasonable force,” said Sgt Leahy.

Judge Marian O’Leary, who returned to chambers for a period of time to consider her verdict, said she had listened very carefully to all the evidence and read the doctor’s report.

“I find that he used more force than reasonably necessary and is guilty of section 2 assault,” said Judge O’Leary.

Mr Herbert said it was never his client’s intention to use any force.

“The problem came to his door,” said Mr Herbert.

“That is accepted,” said Judge O’Leary.

She ordered the defendant to pay €500 to the court poor box and if it is paid she will apply the Probation Act.  Recognaissance was fixed in the event of an appeal.