Inspector Brian O’Donovan outlined the background to the case yesterday at Cork District Court, where John Burke, aged 40, of St Vincent’s Hostel, Anglesea Terrace, Cork, pleaded guilty to charges of harassment and threatening to kill Sharon Lee at Ardmore estate, Passage West, Co Cork.
Insp O’Donovan said the harassment took the form of about 20 phone calls made between November 16 and 18, 2015. In the course of this three-day period, Ms Lee received the phone calls from a blocked number.
“You are a dead woman. I am going to kill you,” was one of the messages.
Insulting comments were also made to the woman, who was very frightened by the calls.
In another call, Burke said: “I’m warning you to board up the windows of your house. Even though it will be no good to you. And also your parents’ house.”
Defence solicitor Shane Collins-Daly said the accused had no contact with his ex-partner in the 12 months since the threatening and harassing phone calls. Mr Collins-Daly said the accused was extremely remorseful. The solicitor said his understanding was that the complainant had no difficulty with the defendant phoning her now in relation to domestic arrangements that needed to be made from time to time.
Mr Collins-Daly said the accused suffered depression and anxiety and had difficulties accepting the ending of the relationship.
“He accepts this was completely outrageous behaviour,” the solicitor said.
Judge Leo Malone said this was not the way to handle the breakdown of a relationship. The judge said it would have been terrifying for Burke’s ex-partner, who would have had no way of knowing if he was going to carry out the threats he had made. He said that because he had a criminal record she could reasonably expect that he would carry out the threats at the time.
Judge Malone imposed two concurrent suspended 10-month prison sentences for the offences of harassment and making the death threat.