Mother allegedly subjected to ‘terrifying’ physical abuse in car in front of her children

The Limerick Court Complex in Mulgrave Street

A COURT heard allegations of a “terrifying” ordeal in which, its alleged, a mother was physically beaten by a man in front of her children while being driven around in a car for more than two hours.

In a bail application before Limerick District Court, Garda Fiona Hynes gave evidence of a statement she had taken from the alleged victim in the case.

Neither the woman nor the accused can be identified as the case was heard in camera on Tuesday.

Opposing bail for the accused on behalf of the State, Garda Hynes told Judge Patricia Harney that, in her statement, the alleged victim said that she had been walking along the street when her partner, and father of her children, drew up in a car offering her a lift “to get a bale of briquettes so she wouldn’t have to carry them”.

Garda Hynes said that the accused didn’t drive the mother and her children to a shop, but instead drove for more than two hours in the car.

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“She realised he was on something,” Garda Hynes said. When she tried to get out of the car, Garda Hynes said, quoting the alleged victim’s statement, “he threatened he would run her and the children over if she did”.

Garda Hynes said that it is alleged that the man was “steering the car with one hand and punching her with the other. She had injuries to her eye and face and the side of her head.”

During the course of the drive, it is alleged that the accused took the woman’s mobile phone and wouldn’t give it back and that he stopped at a filling station and drove off without paying after putting €20 worth of fuel into the car.

Garda Hynes also told the court that the content of recordings of a number of calls alleged to be made by the accused to the woman included “strong insinuations that if she made a statement (to Gardaí) he would be out (of jail) in five years”.

The recordings were not played to the court as they had not previously been played to the defence in the case.

Garda Hynes agreed with the accused man’s solicitor that there were no direct requests in the phone calls for the woman not to make a statement, but said the content of the recordings were “concerning”.

She also agreed that the alleged injured party had to be arrested for withholding information before she made a statement.

Garda Hynes said she arrested the woman because “there were other parties involved, two young children, and I believe she was frightened of giving a statement”.

Judge Harney said that she had heard claims of a “terrifying” ordeal but the accused man “comes before the court as an innocent man”.

Taking all the circumstances into consideration, the judge said she was refusing bail and set a date of December 12 for the case to be mentioned again.