Woman feared ex would burn down house

A woman who feared she was going to have her home burned out by her ex-partner packed up and left until he was arrested by gardaí.

Woman feared ex would burn down house

Patrick Minihane, of Apartment 5, 3 Verdon Place, Wellington Rd, Cork, denied a charge of breaching a protection order by putting Natasha O’Sullivan in fear.

Solicitor Frank Buttimer said: “It seems to me to be nothing more than a misunderstanding.”

Mr Buttimer suggested the case probably would not have been before the court at all if certain domestic arrangements had been put in place.

Ms O’Sullivan said that, in one phone call, the accused said to her: “Get the kids and bags out of the house because you are not going to have one.”

Judge Marie Keane said: “This is a prosecution under the Domestic Violence Act. I don’t accept there was a misunderstanding between the parties. Mr Minihane’s conduct on October 30, 2016, was certainly less than cordial. He made persistent calls to her when she was at Mass and another call in the mid-afternoon.

“She acknowledges he has mental health issues. I am satisfied she has indulged the behaviour of Mr Minihane. That is not to criticise her. But, at the end of the day, I must be satisfied there was a putting in fear of the complainant. I am not satisfied the threshold has been met.

“The phone calls were not cordial. Mr Minihane should not feel he can be making persistent and demanding phone calls. But in phoning him back, it shows that she was not in fear of him. I dismiss.”

The issue in relation to the call back arose during the mid-afternoon phone call when the complainant said Mr Minihane rang her, he ran out of credit, and she rang him back. She testified it was her belief that he was threatening to burn her home when he allegedly said that she and her children should leave the house.

The accused denied making that threat or being in any way threatening during the phone calls. “It was a conversation, half argument, it was going nowhere.”

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