Man who subjected partner to 'seven years of torture' is jailed

Man Who Subjected Partner To 'Seven Years Of Torture' Is Jailed Man Who Subjected Partner To 'Seven Years Of Torture' Is Jailed
The court heard that over the course of their relationship, the man quickly became increasingly controlling and didn't like the woman spending time with her friends, so she had no social life outside the home.
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Isabel Hayes

A man who assaulted his partner and the mother of his child on three separate occasions, subjecting her to what she described as “seven years of torture” has been jailed for 18 months.

The 44-year-old Dublin man, who can't be named to protect the identity of his former partner and child, was found guilty of three counts of assault causing harm to the woman on various dates in 2017 and 2018 in their Waterford home. He has two previous convictions for assault.

He was previously acquitted of raping the woman following a Central Criminal Court trial.

Imposing sentence on Friday, Ms Justice Karen O'Connor noted that these incidents had taken place in the home which should have been a “safe and secure” place for the victim.

She said a “pattern of controlling behaviour was clear from the three separate offences”.



Ms Justice O'Connor handed the man a two-and-half year sentence with the final 12 months suspended for two years on strict conditions. The accused must also place himself under the supervision of the Probation Services for 12 months after his release from custody.

A local garda sergeant told Eilis Brennan SC, prosecuting, that the woman met the man when she was 18 and within a few months she became pregnant and they got engaged. He is 13 years older than her.

The court heard that over the course of their relationship, the man quickly became increasingly controlling. He didn't like the woman spending time with her friends, so she had no social life outside the home. Her family could only visit their house by pre-arrangement.

The man made the woman give up playing camogie, and she had to give him her work schedule every week, so he knew where she was at all times. The woman worked in retail, but the man did not work during their relationship.

On May 27th, 2017, the woman had a work night out with colleagues. When she came home, the man started screaming and shouting at her, before he choked her to the point that she lost consciousness.

Texts in which he apologised to the woman for his actions that night were shown to the jury during the trial.



The second incident the man was found guilty of took place on September 13th, 2017. The couple were arguing when the man kicked the woman, causing her to fall to the ground. He then kicked her repeatedly to the legs 10 to 15 times, causing severe swelling.

The woman did not initially go to the GP as she didn't want anyone to know what had happened, the court heard. She eventually sought medical help when the swelling had not gone down for a week, telling her GP it happened when she was moving furniture.

The third incident took place on February 4th, 2018, when the woman and the man had a row about her father. The man called the woman's father a paedophile because he liked spending time with his grandson and he threatened to go and accuse him of this to his face.

Their son, who was present at the time of the fight, was very distressed that his father was accusing his grandfather of this and he and the woman begged the man not to do it.

When the woman reached out to restrain the man from leaving the house, he hit out at her, hitting her in the eye. She suffered a cut to her face and bruising to her eye as a result.

Disclosure to gardaí


The woman's employer suspected something was amiss in the relationship and made a private disclosure to gardaí, who then approached the woman.

She was “relieved” to be able to talk about what had been happening to her, the court heard. She ended the relationship within two weeks of the final assault.

In her victim impact statement, which was read out by counsel, the woman said she was made to feel “belittled”, “worthless”, “used” and “degraded” in the course of their relationship.

She said she blamed herself for not ending the relationship the first time the man hit her, which she said occurred within the first few months of their relationship when she was a 19-year-old new mother.

She said she had no idea of the “seven years of torture you (would) put me and (our child) through.”

She said he was controlling and violent, constantly criticised everything she said or did and made her feel like a stranger in her own home.

Manipulate child

She said the man tried to manipulate their child, telling him that the woman was forcing him to leave. She said she would never forget that she was not able to protect her child for the first few years of his life, and she has suffered from depression as a result.


She said she struggled to allow anyone to become close to her because of him but is now in a new relationship.

The man, who has been in custody since last July, has three previous convictions for assault and public order offences.

John O'Kelly SC, defending, said he had not objected to the victim impact statement being read in court as background, but reminded the court that it was dealing with three distinct counts of assault causing harm.

He said his client had a difficult upbringing that was marred by domestic abuse. He previously worked in construction and as a chef. He said the man was isolated when living in Waterford because he was not working and could not drive, leading to him becoming depressed.

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Mr O'Kelly handed in a letter of apology from his client to his former partner and a letter of apology to the court. Ms Justice Karen O'Connor said the woman could decide for herself whether she wanted to receive the letter.

The man is now in a new relationship and his partner was in court to support him.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Women’s Aid (24-hour freephone helpline at 1800 341 900, email or Men’s Aid Ireland (confidential helpline at 01 554 3811, email for support and information. 

Safe Ireland also outlines a number of local services and helplines at In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112. 

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