'You have traumatised me forever': Mother recalls terrifying ordeal of being held at knife-point by ex-partner

A Kilkee mother-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.

Mr 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.

Ms Haugh told Gardaí that during the incident at Unit One at Kilkee industrial estate on August 20 last Mr 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.

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

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

Det Garda Conor Flaherty said that Ms Haugh attempted to flee and made it outside the door of Unit One shouting "Help me! Help me!".

Det Flaherty said that Mr Garvey gave chase and caught Ms 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.

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

Ms Fennell said that Mr Garvey told her to go away and that “everything was okay”.

She said that Mr Garvey said that he was only trying to talk to Ms Haugh.

Ms Fennell said that Ms Garvey said: "Please Samantha, don’t leave me".

Ms Fennell said: “She was screaming for help and said ‘he has two knives’".

Ms Fennell said as Mr Garvey got into the driver’s seat, Ms Haugh got out the passenger door and ran towards Ms Fennell’s car.

The two then travelled to Kilkee Garda Station where they raised the alarm.

Gerard Garvey
Gerard Garvey

Gardaí went to the unit and Mr Garvey had already fled.

Gardaí then issued a missing persons alert for Mr Garvey due to family and Garda concerns for his own safety.

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

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

In her victim impact statement, Ms Haugh said that she is not 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.

Mr Garvey has been on remand in prison since his arrest on August 22 last and Ms Haugh said: “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.

Counsel for Mr Garvey, Patrick Whyms BL 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 Mr Garvey.”

Mr 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.

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

Mr Whyms said Mr Garvey, in his own mind, did not wish to hurt Ms 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 Ms Haugh but has pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, the most serious charge and assault causing harm.

Mr 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 Mr Garvey.

Mr 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 Mr Garvey in custody and adjourned the case to May 20.


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