Friday 24 January 2020

'On your birthday you could be very sad... you're not going to live' - Man repeatedly threatened ex

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

Declan Brennan

A man repeatedly threatened his ex-partner weeks after beating her up because he refused to accept their relationship had ended.

Neven Vukovic (40) punched and kicked Fionnuala Ní Mhartín during the attack at her Dublin home in September 2015. The victim suffered a fracture to the bone around her eye amongst other injuries.

Vukovic of Malahide Road, Clontarf, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm of Ms Ní Mhartín at Aughrim Street on September 2, 2015.

Two days previously the victim had split up with Vukovic and he was annoyed by this. He sent her a text earlier in the day calling her a “cold Irish b***h” and telling her “you'll always be alone”.

That evening Vukovic showed up at the victim's home and walked in when she opened the door. He was trying to hug her but she wouldn't hug him and he became annoyed.

She told him the relationship was definitely over and he began shouting “no” and slapped her on the head. He then started “windmilling” her with punches and kicks, the woman later told gardai.

The punches included a full force punch to the eye and a painful smack to the side of her face, Gda Neil O'Brien testified.

The woman got away from him and got out of the house by climbing out a front downstairs window. She then went to the house of a neighbour who brought her to hospital.

Gda O'Brien told Fionnuala O'Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that immediately after the attack Vukovic began constantly calling the victim's phone and sending messages to her Facebook page.

He said his messages would begin apologetically but when there was no response they would work up in anger.

This behaviour continued for weeks and included nasty messages left on her Facebook page. In one message Vukovic said he would come to her house that night and this worried the victim.

A later message stated he wanted to be with her again. When this was ignored he sent a message saying: “Just be aware on your birthday you could be very sad. You're so stupid, die stupid. F*** you, you are dead. Don't forget about your birthday, you're not going to live.”

The victim took these messages as serious threats. Gardai arrested Vukovic and later charged him with assault and with harassment.

Vukovic, a Croatian national living here since early 2015, has since taken part in an anger management course and in counseling.

Rebecca Smith BL, defending, said her client had only now begun to deal with the trauma caused by living in Croatia during the war in the nineties.

Counsel said that Vukovic, who was a new relationship, was measured to be at a low risk of re-offending and had demonstrated victim empathy and remorse.

Judge Patricia Ryan adjourned sentencing to April next. She released Vukovic on continuing bail under strict conditions including that he have no contact with the victim.

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