A suicidal and estranged husband was barred this week (November 27 ) from entering Co Offaly, as part of a strengthened safety order brought against him by his former wife.
The court heard Garda evidence how the man had slashed the tyres on his former wife’s car three times since the safety order was initially imposed, and on the most recent occasion scraped a message into the bonnet of the car, and sent a threatening text at 4.30am.
Recognising the defendant from family court, Judge Seamus Hughes described him as “quite an intimidating man” and that on a recent court appearance by him: “I was apprehensive for my own safety”.
“What have I got to do or say to get him to see that he’s walking on thin ice? I should send him to the Midlands Prison for a week,” said the judge.
However, defending solicitor Mr Brian O’Brien told the judge his client had a some psychiatric health issues, was seeing a number of doctors, and handed in documentary evidence of this.
“Your wife has a right to her own life, and you have to move on with your own,” said the judge.
Representing the ex-wife, solicitor Dara Hayden told the court “She is fearful for her safety, and doesn’t think any court proceedings or Garda involvement had acted as a deterrent”.
Seeing what he had left on his ex-wife’s phone - though not reading it out - the judge asked him why he would leave such a message.
“I didn’t think I would be there the next day. I had taken an overdose,” said the man.
“If you had been successful that night can you imagine what your child’s last memory of you would have been? That on my daddy’s last night before he killed himself he came round to mammy’s house to frighten her?” posited Judge Hughes.
Accepting the medical evidence, the judge re-imposed the safety order and strengthened it by telling the man that he couldn’t enter Co Offaly “except for bona fide medical appointments”, and remanded him on continuing bail until December 16.
“This is his final warning. Immediate custodial if he steps out of line,” said the judge to the inspector.
“Please take your medication and attend your therapy,” he then said to the defendant.
Despite the case being a criminal matter, and being heard in an open, if empty court, Judge Hughes asked the press not to identify either of the parties because of the amount of family court details being divulged.