Limerick man cleared of threatening to kill partner and child

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

A LIMERICK man has been found not guilty 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, had denied the charges at Limerick Circuit Court during a two day hearing on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The jury took just over 90 minutes to acquit Mr Lynch on all charges, by a unanimous decision.

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

The trial heard that the relationship between Mr Lynch and Ms O’Callaghan was strained before he allegedly threatened to kill her.

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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.

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.

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.

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.”

She agreed with Mr Lynch’s defence barrister, Eimear 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.

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 told them “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.

Nicola O’Callaghan who claimed her former partner threatned to kill her and their daughter.