Monday 26 August 2019

Garda killer told his children to say goodbye before stabbing mother

Pauline Tully leaves the courthouse
Pauline Tully leaves the courthouse
Gardaí lead Pearse McCauley into Cavan courthouse yesterday. Below inset: Pauline Tully leaves the court

Mark O'Regan

Garda killer Pearse McAuley told his children to say goodbye to their mother as he stabbed her 13 times with a steak knife on Christmas Eve.

For more than two-and-a half hours, McAuley - who was convicted of killing Detective Garda Jerry McCabe in 1996 - stabbed, punched and kicked the mother of his children, Pauline Tully, in the family home.

He kicked her so hard that it caused one of her lungs to fill up with blood, a court heard. Ms Tully said she "heard air" coming from a wound to her chest.

McAuley was flanked by five gardaí for the hearing at Cavan Circuit Criminal Court.

The 50-year-old, who is originally from Strabane, but with an address in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, has already pleaded guilty to four charges.

On the morning of December 24 last year, at approximately 11am, Ms Tully said she opened the front door to receive a punch to the face from McCauley.

She recalled how their two sons, aged seven and four, were standing on the stairs and the look of "bewilderment and fear" on their faces will be forever etched in her mind. McAuley then started rummaging in the pocket of his tracksuit bottoms, and she expected him to produce a gun.

However, he took out a steak knife, and then dragged her by the arm into the kitchen. He told her that if he couldn't have her "no one else could", the court was told.

She said he then said he was going to kill her before plunging the "dinner knife" into her upper chest, puncturing her lung.

"I didn't know at the time what he had punctured, but I could hear air. I lost a lot of blood. If I bent over the blood came rushing out.

"I got a tea towel and pushed it against where the blood was coming out."

In a harrowing victim impact statement read out in court, she said he subjected her to "verbal and emotional abuse" during the ordeal, adding that she was treated "worse than an animal".

She began praying as she was convinced she was going to die.

"There was a lot of blood. I silently spoke to my parents and asked them to meet me in the afterlife.

"I was so worried about the children who he had sent upstairs, and prayed that they would be okay."

She decided to try and reason with McAuley, but he kept asking her the name of the man he believed she was seeing. The couple had separated 11 months earlier, the court heard.

"I kept telling him there was no one. Every time he came at me with the knife I screamed and tried to protect myself. I received stab wounds to my hands from trying to protect myself. The floor was covered in blood.

"He called the boys down to say goodbye to me. He wouldn't allow them to hold me. I was sure I was going to die and not see my children grow up. I'm adamant it was a clear, calculated attempt to kill me."

He then took a bottle of Coole Swan liquor from the fridge and began drinking it.

The court heard their seven-year-old son had a "high level of awareness" of what was happening downstairs.

When Ms Tully noticed McCauley was "nodding off" she shuffled to the back door and managed to raise the alarm. Ms Tully, a secondary school teacher, spent a number of days in Cavan General Hospital, where she was treated for 13 stab wounds to her neck, hand, chest, and abdomen.

And while her physical wounds would heal, she added that it's the emotional scars that she and her children will struggle to live with.

McAuley has admitted producing a knife during a dispute at Kilderry, Kilnaleck, Cavan, on December 24 last year. He also pleaded guilty to falsely imprisoning Ms Tully and with intentionally/recklessly causing serious harm to her on the same occasion.

McAuley has also pleaded guilty to threatening to kill her brother, Tommy, during the same incident.

Judge John Aylmer remanded McAuley in custody, and adjourned the hearing until next Wednesday, when he will be sentenced.

Irish Independent

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