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Ex-lover gets €55k payout for gun terror

A WOMAN has been awarded €55,000 damages after a court heard her former lover held a loaded revolver to her head and threatened to blow her brains out during a row nearly 13 years ago.

A High Court jury unanimously found Sarah Dunne (47) had been assaulted and falsely imprisoned by Declan Walsh (52) in a Tipperary pub where they lived on the night of November 29/30, 1997.

The jury heard that they first met while doing a computer class at a time when both were separated. They moved in together after buying the Village Inn in Moyglass, Tipperary -- a spot that attracts visitors from Australia because it is the ancestral home of outlaw Ned Kelly.

On the night of the incident they had got into row and Mr Walsh became angry. The court heard it ended when Mr Walsh pressed a loaded Colt 45 handgun to her head and threatened to blow her brains out.


When she said she was going to to call the gardai, it was alleged he pulled her hair and told her to go upstairs. The incident, she claimed, lasted 15 minutes and her teenage daughter was upstairs at the time.

After the row, Mr Walsh went to bed and slept with the gun in his hand. Ms Dunne, the court heard, then escaped after Mr Walsh fell asleep. Mr Walsh, representing himself, apologised for pointing the gun but claimed her version of events was exaggerated.

The jury yesterday awarded her €55,000 for assault and false imprisonment but rejected her claim that Walsh had battered her by drawing the blunt edge of a letter opener across her neck. It also rejected an allegation Mr Walsh had battered her with the revolver.

In her action Ms Dunne, a financial adviser with addresses at Gracetown House, Killenaule, Thurles, Tipperary, and Blackcastle, Two Mile Borris, Thurles, said she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) arising out of the incident at the Village Inn, Moyglass, Fethard, Tipperary.

During the two-day hearing before Mr Justice Eamon De Valera, Ms Dunne said she feared for her life over the incident, suffered depression, had nightmares and attended a psychiatrist who diagnosed her as suffering from PTSD.

Mr Walsh, with an address at The Village Inn, Moyglass, accepted that he pointed the revolver at her and deeply regretted the incident.

However, he denied she was falsely imprisoned, or that he had ran the blunt edge of the letter opener against her neck.

He had no licence for the firearm but said he had licences for other guns he kept in the pub.