Tuesday 15 October 2019

Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe’s wife ‘feared he would kill himself’

Mr McCabe, who faced unfounded and false allegations of a sexual assault, was praised in the Charleton Tribunal report.

Maurice McCabe
Maurice McCabe

By Michelle Devane, Press Association  

The wife of Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe has said she was afraid her husband would kill himself over false allegations of sexual assault.

Mr McCabe, who formally left the force last month after being vindicated by a corruption probe, said the allegations “completely changed” his family life.

During an interview on RTE television the former Garda sergeant recalled the moment he learned of the accusations, and how he told his wife.

“We put all the kids to bed and I told Lorraine in the sitting room and I broke down,” he said. “She hugged me and she cried and that’s how I told her.”

Lorraine McCabe said: “I knew it was wrong but it doesn’t make it any easier. I was afraid he would take his own life.”

Mr McCabe, who faced unfounded and false allegations of a sexual assault, was praised in the Charleton Tribunal report, published last month.

The Disclosures Tribunal found former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan was part of a “campaign of calumny” against Mr McCabe, aided by his former press officer, Superintendent David Taylor.

Mr McCabe said the allegations by a girl, known as Ms D, “completely changed our family life, completely”.

“I didn’t bath the kids ever again, or wash them,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be here if there were visitors with their children, I’d always have something to do or somewhere to go.”

If I had to know then what was facing me, I would never have done it, never Maurice McCabe

After an investigation into the allegation a file came back from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

“What really stood out was they said there is not a case here of sex assault, or any assault at all, and I think that was key. There was no crime.”

In the interview, which aired on RTE on Monday night, Mr McCabe said if he had known at the outset the abuse he would suffer for lifting the lid on corruption in the Garda he “would never have done it”.

The father-of-five, who joined An Garda Siochana in 1985, took the role of sergeant-in-charge at Bailieborough in Co Cavan in 2004.

That was where he raised complaints about policing standards in the force.

Ultimately, it led to his resignation as sergeant-in-charge and marked the beginning of a series of allegations made against him.

Mr McCabe recalled how he became isolated and ostracised within the force for simply doing what he saw as the right thing.

He said: “What I was hoping for is that the issues that I reported would be investigated and that I would get back into position as sergeant-in-charge and they’d say, yes, I was right to highlight these issues.

“If I had to know then what was facing me, I would never have done it, never.”

Mrs McCabe said she was afraid at the time that he was “getting into deep water”.

“He was just pushing things too far,” she said. “It wouldn’t be me, I would have walked away.”

In the two-part documentary, Mr McCabe and his wife also detailed how he became a victim of online abuse in the form of “obscene” photographs by former Garda colleagues on social media sites.

They said they became aware that photographs of a plastic rat, which had been pierced with darts by off-duty gardai, had been posted online with his name written underneath.

Mr McCabe said: “They had a plastic rat and it showed them sticking darts into it and it also showed obscene sexual gestures with the rat and underneath the photographs was the word ‘Maurice’.

“Then there was a comment ‘cheese-eating rat bastard’ underneath.”

Mrs McCabe, who described the photographs as “nasty” and “awful”, said they gave them an indication of the level of animosity her husband faced.

“It just gave us a complete sense of the feeling towards him,” she said.

“I can remember just being across the road and coming home one afternoon just walking up the drive, and I’m thinking, ‘God, like it’s a lovely house, the gardens are lovely, everything looks lovely, if you only knew the turmoil that was inside’.”

The couple’s marriage also became a target of Garda rumours.

“A colleague of mine in Cavan Monaghan, he rang me to say that there was a rumour that I left my wife,” Mr McCabe recalled. He told me exactly who was saying the rumour (a Garda).

“I confronted him a few days afterwards, I seen him on the street, I pulled up and told him ‘I haven’t left my wife’, and he said, ‘Oh, somebody came into the station and told me that’.

“I said, ‘You should have checked that out before you spread it’.”

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