A man threatened to throw acid in his sister’s face and to slit his brother’s face with a knife and today they spoke of their fear and terror as the culprit was jailed for three years.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said the threats the young East Cork man made were at the most serious end of such charges.
He said the threats merited a five-year jail term. He suspended the last two years on condition that they would stay away from his brother and sister for a period of five years following his release.
Sergeant Rachel McGrath gave evidence of the background to this domestic case where various orders had been in place barring the 27-year-old from the family home. This background precludes identification of the parties.
On February 6 he arrived at the house in a very intoxicated condition and made the threats to do serious harm to his brother and sister. The actual threats were not made directly to them but to his mother.
“He said he would throw acid in his sister’s face and cut his brother’s face with a knife. Both of them were afraid he was capable of carrying out the threats.
“When arrested and interviewed he said he did not fully recall the conversation with his mother but he accepted her recollection of events.
“Asked if he thought they would be in fear, he said anyone would be in fear when they heard a threat like that,” Sgt. McGrath said at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
The defendant’s sister said today, “As soon as I was told about this threat I knew in my heart that he would 100 per cent carry it out. I have no doubt whatever on this. He was so off the handle he would not hesitate for a minute it carrying it out.
“The constant fear and stress was crippling to the extent of affecting every day of my life. I was sick to the stomach thinking of what he would do to me.
“I had endless nights of no sleep. It affected my ability to do my job properly. I was in constant fear that he would trave to my workplace or home and seriously hurt us.
“Any time I heard the slightest noise I would jump out of my skin, fearing he was outside trying to break in..
“It caused me to go into a very dark place in my head and I became very depressed by it all and it consumed my mind constantly.”
In the second victim impact statement which the victim also read in court, the defendant’s brother said, “The physical pain that you put me in in my childhood simply can never be forgotten.
“You made threats that you would slit my face. This has tortured me not physically but mentally since then. I can never forgive you for this pain that you inflicted on me. I will forever hold on to this pain.
“I have seen (mother and sister) suffer at your hands. We all live in fear that you will kill us someday. That is the reality of the situation. Let there be no doubt about it.”
All three siblings are in their twenties.
Defence barrister, John Devlin, said drink and drugs were a factor in the defendant’s behaviour, particularly tablets.
He referred to a period of up to four months that the defendant spent in the psychiatric unit of a hospital and trauma he suffered when his girlfriend had a miscarriage.
Mr Devlin said the defendant’s apology was heartfelt. His brother and sister felt it was self-serving and not worth the paper it was written on. Mr Devlin said the defendant was in constant phone contact with his mother every night. His plan was to become a hermit on his release from prison and to work with animals.
Judge Ó Donnabháin noted the genuineness of the fear experienced by the injured parties.