The wife of a retired garda has told a trial at the Central Criminal Court that their marriage had become toxic in the weeks before he allegedly raped her.
The 60-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to raping his wife in her bedroom at their family home in Leinster on a date in July 2018. Neither the defendant nor the complainant can be identified in accordance with the 1981 Rape Act.
Giving her evidence on day two of the trial, the woman told Patrick Gageby SC, prosecuting, that she married the defendant in 2007. She said there had been plenty of acrimony and fighting in the marriage and they had slept in separate rooms “on and off since 2012".
She said they still had some sexual interactions, but that her husband was the one who was always “in the driving seat”. She said the last time they had consensual intercourse was in April 2018.
“Sometimes he would initiate sex and I didn't want it. He often said it's like living in a convent or a monastery and he would say I'm just going to have a w**k, and I would get up and leave,” she said.
She said by 2018 the marriage had irretrievably broken down and mediation was not an option. She said she had instructed a solicitor to seek a divorce and said the atmosphere in the family home was toxic.
She said, on the morning the alleged rape took place, she was lying on her bed and the accused walked in. After indicating he wished to have sex, which she refused, the woman said he then lay on the bed and put his arm around her from behind. She said he then put her on her back and raped her.
“I kept asking him to get off”, she said, adding that she also told him that their children were in the house.
She said a week after this incident the defendant told her: “There is something coming, you won't know what it is, but you'll know when it happens.” She said she replied: “You raped me last week and now you are threatening me.”
The court heard that some weeks later, two gardaí came to the house and served her with a District Court summons for a safety order. An accompanying letter set out that the accused made a statement to the court saying that on the previous Sunday, his wife was drunk and “smacked” him in the mouth with her mobile phone.
He stated: “She has serious alcohol issues, I am in great fear of her and I seek the courts' protection”, the court heard.
The woman told Mr Gageby that she was not drunk on the occasion of the alleged incident and was in fact preparing lunches for their children.
Under cross-examination by defending counsel John Fitzgerald SC, the woman accepted that in November 2016 the accused had given her a credit card on the occasion of their anniversary and told her to buy whatever she wanted.
Mr Fitzgerald put it to her that her earlier evidence that there was no love in the marriage contradicted this “loving” gesture by his client. The woman accepted it was a generous act and accepted there was a contradiction between that and her portrayal of the marriage.
She said that by June 2018 the marriage had deteriorated considerably and irreparably, which she laid at the door of the defendant.
Asked if she accepted any responsibility for the unhappiness in the marriage, she replied: “I am not by any stretch perfect, I have my flaws.”
She said she could be argumentative but added she was just standing up for herself against the defendant, who she alleged initiated “nearly all the rows” by saying “very nasty horrible things” and making “threatening remarks” about her family.
The trial continues before Justice Karen O'Connor and a jury of eight men and four women.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help. In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.