Limerick man denies threatening to kill partner and child

Thomas Lynch, who was cleared of all charges at Limerick Circuit Court.

A LIMERICK man has gone on trial accused of threatening to kill or cause serous harm to his partner and young child by setting fire to their home with all three of them inside.

Thomas Lynch (39) of Woodhaven, Castletroy, has denied the charges before Mr Justice Kenneth Connolly at Limerick Circuit Court.

He is accused of one count of making a threat to kill or cause serious harm to Nicola O’Callaghan, and with one count of threatening to cause criminal damage to their home, on October 2, 2018.

The trial, which began yesterday (Tuesday), heard uncontested evidence that the relationship between Mr Lynch and Ms O’Callaghan was strained before he threatened to kill her.

Ms O’Callaghan gave evidence that Mr Lynch stood in front of her in the kitchen of their home, holding a knife and a petrol lighter, and told her he was going to kill her, their two-year-old daughter and himself.

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Ms O’Callaghan broke down in the witness box as she gave evidence of Mr Lynch telling her: “I will stab all three of us to death and burn down the house with all of us in it.

“My body froze.I didn’t know what to do,” she said.

She also alleged Mr Lynch threatened to remove the handbrake cable from her car to prevent her and their daughter from leaving the house.

Ms O’Callaghan said that after Mr Lynch threatened her, she put their daughter to bed and went to sleep in their bedroom.

At around 1.30am the following morning, she woke up to Mr Lynch lying on top of her, roaring at her, accusing her of cheating on him.

“He said that I was a fat c**t and a tramp, and he took my mobile phone off me,” she added.

Ms O’Callaghan said she decided to leave Mr Lynch the following day after she spoke to a relative: “I knew my life and my daughter’s life was in danger – that’s why I left.”

The witness, who was studying for a Business degree at the time, agreed under cross examination from Mr Lynch’s defence barrister, Eimear Carey, BL, that she and Mr Lynch had been arguing about their finances in the run up to the alleged threats.

She said she had to argue with Mr Lynch, who was out of work, to get money from him, as he was claiming a social welfare payment on their behalf.

Ms O’Callaghan agreed with Ms Carey that she did not make a complaint to Gardaí about the alleged threats until October 16, 2018, more than two weeks afterwards.

She said she believed if she had immediately contacted Gardaí both herself and her daughter would have been killed.

“By the time the Gardaí would have come out to the house, we would be dead”.

She agreed she was in possession of her mobile phone for over eight hours after the alleged threats, but that she did not raise the alarm with anyone.

Five months after the couple separated, on February 6, 2019, Ms O’Callaghan was granted a safety order against Mr Lynch – the same day Mr Lynch was granted access to their daughter.

She denied suggestions by Ms Carey that she had been intimate with Mr Lynch on a number of occasions in 2019, after their separation.

Gardaí told the court Mr Lynch met them by appointment on April 2, 2019, and said “the allegations were bulls**t.

“If that was the case, why did she leave it over a week? Why did she stay the night?”, Mr Lynch asked Gardaí.

“She lies to everyone, ask her parents. We have been sleeping together since March 16. Why would she be sleeping with me if she was in fear of me? She has bi-polar or something,” Mr Lynch claimed.

Mr Lynch, who has worked as a mechanic, told Gardaí he was heartbroken”after the relationship ended.

“My daughter is the apple of my eye, and I would never in a million years harm her”.

When asked if he knew how to remove a handbrake cable from a car, Mr Lynch replied that Ms O’Callaghan’s car was a Passat and there was no cable as the handbrake was operated by an electronic button.

Closing speeches were due to be heard later today (Wednesday).