Eugene Quigley, aged 39, of 1 Steele’s Terrace, Ennis, was jailed by Judge Patrick Durcan for four months and fined the maximum €800 for what the judge called “vile and vicious” texts.
In one of eight text messages, which Inspector Tom Kennedy told Ennis District court were all sent on the afternoon of Oct 17 last, Mr Quigley told Carmel Corbett that she should go and pick out a headstone for herself.
Judge Durcan said the texts “were of a vile and vicious nature over a few hours” and “this was criminal behaviour of a vile and vicious type”.
“People who receive messages of this nature — it can leave an imprint on them for the rest of their lives.”
Judge Durcan said: “We frequently come across assault cases where people have had their bodies violated by other people. This is an offence where someone uses modern technology to mentally violate someone.”
Mr Quigley was charged under the Postal and Communications Act 1999, with persistently making use of the telecommunications system for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience and needless anxiety to another. Insp Kennedy told the court that Ms Corbett was “very disturbed” by the texts.
Solicitor for Mr Quigley, Darragh Hassett, said his client is very remorseful over what happened. He said Mr Quigley was renting accommodation belonging to Ms Corbett and gave notice that he was leaving the accommodation on a Monday, but found that the previous Friday, the locks had been changed and he was locked out with all his worldly goods inside.
Mr Hassett said that Mr Quigley then heard from a third party that Ms Corbett had described him as “a Limerick knacker” and Mr Quigley got very angry.
He said Mr Quigley went to the pub and sent the texts over the afternoon to Ms Corbett. Mr Hassett said that Mr Quigley — who had two previous convictions for criminal damage and one for assault — is very apologetic over the incident and handed in a letter to court from Mr Quigley apologising to Ms Corbett.
The Ennis solicitor said that Mr Quigley “is not a bad man” and had moved from Limerick to Ennis to be away from a bad circle of friends.
Judge Durcan said that the offence “must be dealt with in a severe way and this type of conduct should not be tolerated in a civilised society”.
Judge Durcan fixed recognisance in the event of an appeal.