Man accused of string of assaults on women

Kevin Hughes

A KILLARNEY man with a "colourful history" of non-appearances in court has been refused bail and will remain in custody until June 18 on charges including assaulting females, contravening protection orders and leaving threatening phone messages.

Damien Burke, listed at 153 Ballyspillane, appeared before Kenmare District Court on Friday following the execution of a bench warrant. The defendant offered to pay bail money but Judge James O'Connor refused the request labelling the charges "nasty enough" and referred to "a colourful history of previous non-appearances".

Mr Burke is charged with leaving menacing and threatening phone messages for Laura Ryan on two separate occasions and with causing her annoyance and needless anxiety by phone all on dates between December 28, 2008 and January 2, 2009.

He is further charged with booking into The Grand Hotel, Tralee, on January 3, 2009, where he is alleged to have used a false name and made 47 phone calls, later refusing to pay.

Other charges included assault on Maria Doyle at Bohereen Caol, Killarney, on July 11, 2011; assault on Radana Abrahamovska at Beech Road on December 12, 2012.

At Friday's sitting a new charge was entered with Mr Burke accused of contravening a protection order and putting Ms Abrahamovska in fear by slapping her across the face at New Street, Killarney, on March 5, 2013.

Asked how many bench warrants had been issued, Superintendent Flor Murphy said the figure was well in excess of 10 but could be as high as 20. The court also heard how the defendant on one occasion had jumped out of a window when gardaí attempted to execute a warrant.

Judge O'Connor said the defendant had failed to make contributions almost four years after charges and referred to compensation of €1,500 that remained outstanding following an assault on Maria Doyle that had resulted in stitches.

Solicitor Pádraig O'Connell said his client had a tragic background but when sober he was "a gentleman to his fingertips". The court heard that Mr Burke was currently cut off from social welfare after working for a day before being let go.

Remanding in custody, Judge O'Connor commented that the accused could have two more weeks in prison to think about compensation. "You promise the moon and the stars and deliver absolutely nothing," he added.

Damien Burke is due to appear again before Killarney District Court on June 18.