Wednesday 15 August 2018

Man who harassed and 'terrified' his former girlfriend jailed

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Isabel Hayes

A man who harassed and “terrified” his former girlfriend, breaking down her apartment door and sending her hundreds of messages in the course of a few days, has been jailed for one year.

Colin Brady continued to harass his victim and breached his bail conditions 46 times by getting in touch with her after he was charged, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard today.

His former girlfriend felt in fear for her life, suffered from extreme anxiety and still looks over her shoulder when leaving her home.

Brady (44) with an address in Rathmullen Park, Drogheda, Co Louth, pleaded guilty to one count of harassing the woman at her home in Stewart Hall, Parnell St, Dublin 1, between September 21 and November 2 last year.

Sentencing Brady, Judge Martin Nolan said he had obviously “terrified” his victim.

“He undermined her and caused her severe difficulties,” the judge said. “He must have known this and he still continued.”

He handed down a three-year sentence but suspended the final two years on a number of conditions, including that Brady stay away from his victim. He backdated the sentence to when Brady went into custody last November. He was also ordered him to pay the cost of the broken front door.

Garda Emma Brady told Derek Cooney BL, prosecuting, that she was called to the apartment block on September 25 last year after the victim arrived home to find her front door had been broken. She called gardaí in fear that Brady was inside.

He was not at the scene. However, the victim showed gardai a number of messages he had sent her in the preceding days.

The court heard the pair had started a relationship a few months previously, but that Brady quickly became “possessive” and “controlling”, particularly when he was drinking. He started looking at her phone and accused her of looking at other men when they were out together.

The couple travelled to Rome but got into an argument and the victim ended up changing hotels and organising a different airplane seat for the journey home.

As far as the woman was concerned, the relationship was over. However, the man barraged her with messages, sending her 275 text, Whatsapp and voice messages over the course of three days.

He was also seen on CCTV footage hanging around outside her apartment building a number of times in the middle of the night.

Brady was arrested and charged in mid-October. He appeared in court and was ordered to have no contact with the victim and to stay out of Dublin 1.

However, between October 29 and November 2 last year, Brady sent the victim a number of messages asking if they could meet. As a result, he was arrested again and taken into custody.

Brady has seven previous convictions in Ireland, including larceny and criminal damage. He has one conviction for robbery in the UK, where he was jailed for eight years in 2004.

In a victim impact statement handed up to court, the woman said she never experienced such fear before. At one point she felt she was in danger of losing her life.

She was out of work without pay for months as a result of the stress and anxiety and she still cries constantly, she said.

Defence barrister, Carol Doherty BL, said her client is extremely remorseful for his actions and apologised to gardaí. She said he has an alcohol problem which exacerbated his offending behaviour.

“He has no wish or desire to contact this lady ever again,” she said.

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