Cork man on week-long bender told wife ‘I’ll torch house’

An East Cork man on a week-long drunken bender texted his wife that he would torch the house if she did not bring him drink and he later carried out an assault by punching her in the forehead and face.

Cork man on week-long bender told wife ‘I’ll torch house’

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said that the accused had benefitted from a previous remand in custody and had been at the time of the crime a menace to himself and a danger to others. He has since shown signs of insight and remorse, the judge said.

Gerard Harrington, who is aged around 40, from Valley View, Bilberry, Midleton, Co Cork, was given a two-year suspended jail term yesterday.

He previously pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing harm to his wife on July 10, 2015. On two previous 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.

Judge Ó Donnabháin said the accused now showed signs of a more determined attitude to staying sober.

Det Sgt Seán Leahy testified previously at Cork Circuit Criminal Court: “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 he is a totally different man when sober.”

Jane Hyland, defending, said yesterday that the accused was severely intoxicated on the night of the assault. Ms Hyland said previously: “He is appalled by what he did to his wife on the day.”

Det Sgt Leahy said that, 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 in the family home. He texted her to say that 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, and then followed up with two punches to the face, causing her to bleed from the nose and mouth.

When gardaí later arrived at the scene, they found a canister of petrol in the house.

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