Cork man jailed for breaching safety order in house divided with his ex partner

Cork man jailed for breaching safety order in house divided with his ex partner

A man has been jailed for 14 days for breaching a safety order in what a judge described as “unusual” circumstances in which he lived in a different part of the same house as his ex-partner.

Kieran Hickey lives with his 92-year-old mother in an annex at Whitethorn Lodge, Schull Road, Skibbereen. Under the terms of the safety order issued on March 27, he must not enter the main house, where his former partner and children live, or cross the threshold of an interconnecting door between the two parts of the property.

Skibbereen District Court heard from Cheryl McDowell, Mr Hickey’s former partner, that on November 13 last he entered the main house around 6.30pm and asked about the heating.

She told Judge James McNulty that Mr Hickey appeared agitated and that he told her he didn’t care if she called the guards. She alleged he said: “Do not close that door. I will end you.”

When Mr Hickey’s solicitor Ray Hennessy put it to her that this was a “minor dispute” she said “he is threatening to end my life”. Mr Hickey denied any threatening words or actions and said he had been invited into the house.

Garda Carol Ward said Mr Hickey appeared surprised when gardaí arrived that evening. He was arrested at 8.40pm for a breach of the safety order.

Mr Hickey, 59, said he had a meeting earlier that day. He said he’d had a pint of lager before returning home, going into the house, having been there already that day, playing with his children and putting logs on the fire. He said he did discuss the heating with his ex-partner but the first he knew of any problem was when gardaí arrived.

Of the interconnecting door, he said he did not have a key and that it became open at times. As to why he was in the house that evening he told the court: “I got invited the day before.”

Judge McNulty referred to the safety order and conditions in it including that Mr Hickey stay out of the main house. He said Mr Hickey entering the house had been “a grave error of judgement” and “imprudent”.

“It’s clear to me these people live in close proximity to each other,” he said, adding that as it was “an unusual situation” it had required specific conditions around the safety order.

Judge McNulty said he was satisfied Mr Hickey had entered the house that day and put Ms McDowell in fear. He sentenced him to 14 days in prison. This was deemed to have already been served as he had been in custody since the incident.

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