Spurned lover is spared jail over harassment that forced man to flee
AN infatuated woman victimised her former lover and three generations of his family after their relationship had broken down, a court has heard.
Siobhan Downes (35) was given a one-year suspended jail term after a judge said the man "has essentially been forced to emigrate to England" because of her harassment.
The Co Clare man – who cannot be named for legal reasons – secured a protection order after the former air hostess made persistent contact with him after their relationship had broken down.
At Ennis District Court, Judge Patrick Durcan imposed the sentence on Ms Downes, of Childers Road, Ennis, concerning four sample counts of breaches between March and October last year of the protection order that was granted to her former boyfriend in February 2013.
Last October, Ms Downes spent "10 terrible days" on remand in Limerick Prison in connection with the offences, her solicitor, Turlough Herbert, said.
In August 2013, Ms Downes's former boyfriend emigrated to England and he remains there.
The judge said the man was not the only victim in the case, pointing out that his 65-year-old father's mental health deteriorated because of Ms Downes's "most appalling intrusion into the lives of that family".
The judge said that a grand-child was also adversely affected psychologically as a result of Ms Downes's action.
The judge made his comments after written victim impact statements from the victim and family members were handed into court by gardai.
The judge said that Ms Downes had breached the protection order "on a sustained, serious and continuing basis between March 5, 2013 and October 3 last" and this constituted "the most serious harassment of a former partner and his family".
He said the intrusion "had appalling effects" and she "engaged in the most appalling and horrific criminal behaviour". The judge would only accept to an extent that Ms Downes's mental health difficulties was the reason.
He said: "Her appalling behaviour had the effect of victimising three generations of one family."
Ms Downes's father, Sean Downes, yesterday gave evidence and blamed prescribed medication that his daughter was taking at the time. He said: "As a family, we have suffered as well and we saw a daughter that we didn't know at all."
However, Mr Downes added: "She has had no contact with the victim's family in six months. She is back working and enjoying her life again."
Mr Herbert said that "the genesis" for his client's behaviour was a "human relationship that went wrong".
He said she had received mental health treatment and the most recent medical report showed they "might have finally 'cracked the nut'".