Wednesday 18 September 2019

Man broke into ex-girlfriend's house and threatened to kill her because he had woken up in 'black mood', court told

The case was brought before the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
The case was brought before the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Jessica Magee

A man who broke into his ex-girlfriend's house and threatened to kill her said he had no reason for his behaviour, other than that he had woken up “in a black mood”.

David Clail (28) told gardaí he “blanked out and didn't know what he was doing” on September 20, 2016 when he smashed his way into the house of a woman he had gone out with five years earlier.

Clail pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary armed with a flick knife, criminal damage, and threatening to kill Sharon Murphy at her home at The Green, Melrose Park, Kinsealy, Co Dublin.

Judge Karen O'Connor adjourned the sentencing to December 14 next to allow Clail attend psychiatric appointments with the help of his parents and hopefully secure a diagnosis.

The judge warned Clail, of Rory O'Connor House, Hardwick St, Dublin, that if he had any contact at all with Ms Murphy in the meantime he would be brought back before the court.

Garda Joseph Robinson told Dean Kelly BL, prosecuting, that Ms Murphy was at home alone on the day in question and had lain down on her couch as she had a toothache.

She told gardaí that she woke up at about 4pm to the sound of “booting and smashing” at the front door and ran out to the hall to see a hand breaking through the glass of her front door.

The court heard the couple had broken up five and a half years earlier but that she had bumped into him in town in the last year.

Ms Murphy told gardaí that all of a sudden, Clail was inside her hall and screaming that he was going to kill her.

“I told you this day would come, I'm going to destroy your life. You think you can play games, I'm going to kill you, get out of my f***ing way,” he said.

Ms Murphy said Clail went into the sitting room, pulled the TV off the stand and started dancing on it, before running into the kitchen with his “eyes bulging”.

The court heard Clail began swinging a kitchen chair around, hitting things, then throwing the chair and running upstairs. He pulled the TV off the bedroom wall, smashed the mirror, pulled the doors of the wardrobe and stood on them, flipped Ms Murphy's bed and tried to break it.

Ms Murphy said she was following him asking him why he was doing this, and that she then grabbed her phone and went into the bathroom and rang 999, before hiding her phone in the bathroom.

When she came back downstairs, she said Clail was sitting at the kitchen table rolling a cigarette and making calls variously to his father, mother and sisters.

Ms Murphy said Clail screamed that his two sisters were down the road and were going to kill her, and that his mother allegedly said on the phone that Ms Murphy “deserved everything she gets”.

“I'm going to kill your ma and da, I've lads out in the car who are going to butcher the two of them,” said Clail, who also threatened to kill her grandmother.

Ms Murphy said she felt sick and ran to the bathroom pretending to vomit in order to make another 999 call.

She said Clail got a pickaxe and threatened to kill her dog and phoned his father again, shouting down the phone, “I run this f****** family, you don't; get the INLA all you want.”

Ms Murphy said she was trying to calm Clail down and that she saw him take up to eight capsules out of his pocket and swallow them.

When gardaí arrived, Clail had stuck the flick-knife into the kitchen table and eventually agreed to open the door to the guards and lie down on the ground.

Garda Robinson said they arrived to find a man with blood on his hands and a woman screaming from an upstairs window “he has a knife”, and substantial damage and destruction caused to the house.

Clail was arrested and accepted that he had broken into the house against Ms Murphy's will, behaved in a threatening and violent way and caused considerable damage.

"There is no reason so I can't give you a reason,” he told gardaí. “I woke up in a black mood. I blank out and I don't know what I'm doing. I know I fucked things up,” he said, adding that he “wouldn't have touched” Ms Murphy.

Clail has one previous conviction dating from 2008.

Patrick Jackson BL, defending, told the court that Clail had missed a number of psychiatric appointments and that it would be worth bringing in his parents to make sure he did attend these appointments.

He asked Judge O'Connor to postpone sentencing in the hopes that Clail would get a psychiatric diagnosis in the meantime.

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