Garda killer sentence for wife attack 'too lenient'
Garda killer Pearse McAuley has had his jail sentence for seriously assaulting his wife with a steak knife increased by two years after it was found to be too lenient.
Pearse McAuley (50), with an address in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, had pleaded guilty to seriously assaulting and falsely imprisoning his estranged wife Pauline Tully as well as other offences at the home they previously shared in Kilnaleck, Co Cavan, on Christmas Eve 2014.
He was sentenced at Cavan Circuit Criminal Court to 12 years' imprisonment with the final four suspended by Judge John Aylmer on December 2, 2015.
But Court of Appeal yesterday found McAuley's eight-year jail term to be "unduly lenient" following an application for review of sentence by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The three-judge court accordingly re-sentenced him to 12 years' imprisonment with the final two suspended.
McAuley had previously served 10 years for his part in the killing of Detective Jerry McCabe in Limerick in 1996.
In 2003, he was granted temporary release to marry Pauline Tully, a schoolteacher from Cavan and Sinn Féin member of Cavan County Council.
President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice Seán Ryan said the headline sentence of 12 years for the attack on his wife seemed "modest" in view of the "quite horrifying circumstances of his case".
But the DPP had not taken issue with the headline sentence. Rather, the DPP's barrister submitted that the effective sentence of eight years was too lenient.
The court heard how McAuley had come to the house "armed with a knife" and immediately when Ms Tully opened the door "he punched her".
He then subjected her to a serious assault for a number of hours - from 11am until about 3pm.
The fact that this happened in the presence of two young boys added an "extra dimension of brutality", the judge said.
McAuley may consider himself lucky that the Circuit Court considered 12 years as an appropriate starting point, Mr Justice Ryan said.
Allowing for the maximum the court could think of as "proper and allowable", Mr Justice Ryan said the court would suspend the final two years instead of four.
McCauley's barrister said his side accepted that a mobile phone was found on McAuley in prison and that he had been punished in that regard.
His barrister said McAuley wished to extend his apology to Ms Tully, to her family who had "always been good to him", and to his family for the "shame" he had brought on them.