Saturday 16 December 2017

Man who imprisoned girlfriend, made her read Bible and threatened to cut her throat avoids jail

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Isabel Hayes

A 'deeply religious' man who held his girlfriend prisoner, made her read the Bible and threatened to cut her throat, has avoided a jail term.

Andris Andruss (56) dragged his partner of two years back inside their Finglas home after she told him she was leaving him. He then forced her to read the Bible while he sharpened a kitchen knife in front of her and told her he was going to stab her.

Andruss of Parkview Drive, Finglas, Dublin, pleaded guilty to one count of false imprisonment at his home on July 21, 2015.

At Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today, Garda Mark Reilly told Úna Tighe BL, prosecuting, that the woman packed her bags on the evening in question after ending the relationship. However Andruss, who was extremely drunk, dragged her forcibly back into the apartment before grabbing a knife.

Gardaí were called to the scene after the woman managed to phone her friend when Andruss briefly left the room. She told her friend she was being held against her will and asked her to get in touch with her daughter. The daughter then called gardaí.

When gardaí arrived, Andruss told the woman that if they entered the house, he was going to cut her throat. He attempted to hide the weapon when gardaí entered the apartment, before being disarmed.

He has no previous convictions.

Defence barrister, Michael Bowman SC, said Andruss, a member of the Latvian Lutheran Church in Ireland, was a 'deeply religious' man who was extremely upset at the news his partner was leaving him. He was highly intoxicated at the time of the incident.

He has since stopped drinking alcohol, accepts the relationship is over and has made no attempt to get in touch with the victim, the court heard. He has health problems, including cancer and a serious knee injury.

Handing down a suspended two-and-a-half year sentence, Judge Melanie Greally said it was an extremely frightening incident for the woman. “It had a considerable psychological effect on her,” the judge said.

But she noted there were significant mitigating factors in the case, including the fact Andruss had no previous convictions, was in poor health and had a good employment record.

Judge Greally also noted the victim told gardaí she had no wish to pursue a court case and just wanted to get on with her life. As a result, Andruss's guilty plea was “valuable” and a “genuine expression of remorse”, the judge said.

She noted the woman “still retained some considerable fear” of Andruss, despite the fact he had made no effort to contact her. As a result, the judge ordered Andruss to stay away from his former partner for a period of five years.

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