“His wife does not want to see him going to prison for this. She hopes there is a future with him without drink and believes that he is a totally different man when sober,” Det Sgt Seán Leahy testified at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
Gerard Harrington, aged around 40, from Valley View, Bilberry, Midleton, Co Cork, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing harm to his wife on July 10. On two occasions in the month before this, he made threats to kill men in his wider family and to set a house on fire. He also pleaded guilty to those charges.
Jane Hyland, defending, said even though the injured party indicated she did not want to give evidence in any trial of Harrington for this matter, he was prepared to come to court and plead guilty. “He is appalled by what he did to his wife on the day. If you look at his psychiatric report this comes out throughout. He has reached a point in his life that there is a genuine change in this man,” she said.
“He has spent time in custody. He has gone into alcohol treatment programme. He and his wife are anxious to reconcile. I would ask you to give this man a chance.”
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin remanded the accused in custody until today for sentencing.
Judge Ó Donnabháin was concerned about the fact the accused had been given a break by a court in the past for an assault on someone else and that he was now back before the courts in respect of these matters.
Det Sgt Leahy said in his experience of the accused, he was a completely different person when he was not drinking.
On the day he assaulted his wife, he had been drinking heavily at home. He texted her to say if she did not come home immediately with wine and cigarettes he would torch the house.
She did not return to the family home but later, he contacted her by phone in a much more conciliatory tone and asked her to come to his assistance as he urgently needed to be brought to a doctor. Believing this, his wife returned home. He asked her if she was alone.
When she confirmed that she was, he punched her once in the forehead knocking her back on to a couch, then followed up with two punches to the face causing her to bleed from the nose and mouth. When gardaí arrived, they found a canister of petrol in the house.