By Isabel Hayes
A man threatened to kill his former partner, burn her house down and “dance” on her face in a row over access to their baby daughter, a court has heard.
The 27-year-old Dublin man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to threatening to kill the woman, threatening to damage her home, harassing her and contravening a Family Court order by contacting her repeatedly.
The offences took place between June and July 2022. The man still has supervised access to his daughter; the court heard on Friday.
A local garda told Rónán Prendergast BL, prosecuting, that the man and woman had been in a relationship for about a year and had a baby together. A care order made in respect of the child gave the mother full custody and ruled that she could decide what access the father had.
In June 2022, the man sent the woman a number of emails demanding to see his daughter. He referred to the woman as a “selfish c**t”, told her she looked like an “ex-junkie”, and said if he did not get access to the child, he would “dance all over (her) face”.
“Unblock me, or I'm going to kick the f**k out of you,” the man wrote in one email.
In another, he wrote: “If you don't organise something, I will burn your f**king house down”. In relation to the woman blocking his emails, he wrote: “I'm leaving you in hospital on my way to work if you don't unblock me. Do you really want me to have to do that?”
The woman reported the harassment to gardaí and the man was arrested and charged, the court heard.
While on bail for this offence, the man sent the woman a number of WhatsApp messages the following month, in contravention of a protection order which had been put in place.
The court heard he now has regular supervised visits with his child in a play centre with the woman's mother present. He is barred from contacting the woman, apart from in relation to access issues regarding the child.
Anne Rowland SC, defending the man, told the court that he was “desperately anxious about not seeing his daughter” at the time of the offence.
She said that in the last few months, things have “settled” between the two parties, and the man is making maintenance payments for his daughter as much as he can. He is currently working as a delivery driver.
The court heard the man has two previous convictions for assault, dating back to 2017 when he was 19.
Judge Martina Baxter ordered a probation report and adjourned the case to July 26th, when a plea of mitigation will be heard.
She ordered that the matter return to court before then if there is any breach of orders or a “loss of temper” on the man's part. “He can't behave like that,” the judge said.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org) or Men’s Aid Ireland (confidential helpline at 01-554 3811, email email@example.com) for support and information.
Safe Ireland also outlines a number of local services and helplines at safeireland.ie/get-help/where-to-find-help/. In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.