A Youghal woman said that seeing the man who threatened to rape her going to jail was not the ‘win’ — she said that happened when gardaí arrested him outside her home before he could carry out his threat.
Una Ring was speaking after 52-year-old James Steele — a man she had no relationship with but who became obsessed with her — was jailed for five years and ordered to stay away from her and her family forever.
“I would like to thank the men and women of Youghal Garda Station for their support and hard work in bringing this case to its conclusion. Each and every member of the gardaí that I met was kind and professional, and I owe them a huge debt of gratitude.
“The win for me is not today, although we are delighted with the outcome. The win for me was last July when James Steele was arrested on my property and prevented from entering my home and carrying out a brutal attack on myself and my daughter.
“This was done through a Garda operation and the dedication of local gardaí in helping keep me and my family safe.
“I would strongly urge anyone who is being harassed to contact your local gardaí for advice and have any incident reported should your situation escalate at any stage.
“I would ask that the family of James Steele be given the same support that I have been given. My thoughts are with them during this extremely difficult time.”
Recalling the harassment and rape threats, Ms Ring said, “I was extremely fearful. I was in fear of my life. It was harrowing.
“I feel a little bit of sympathy for him [Steele], that he has destroyed his own life, that he has destroyed his family’s life. Having said that, I would be of a different mindset if he had gotten into the house.
“I’m unlucky that it happened, but I am extremely lucky that the guards were so dedicated — they sat outside my house from midnight to 5am night after night after night, just waiting for him. But we knew he was going to show up; it was just a matter of time.
“I will get over it. I have a very good psychotherapist that I’m seeing every week.
"What am I looking forward to most? Just a sense of freedom, being able to go for a walk without looking over my shoulder because now that the sentence is out, I can carry on with life.
“Obviously I would have preferred a higher sentence — there is nothing that is high enough for what I went through — but I am happy with it. I knew he wasn’t going to get the full 14. I knew it wasn’t going to be what I wanted, but the judge was very fair and he was very fair in everything he said – I’m happy enough.”