‘I am absolutely in fear of him’: Woman tells court of ‘extensive’ verbal and emotional abuse by husband

Man agrees to one-year safety order after wife tells judge: ‘I think he’ll flip his lid and murder me’

A man who allegedly subjected his wife to “extensive verbal, mental, emotional and psychological abuse” has consented to a one-year safety order.

The woman had sought a barring order, saying she had obtained “numerous” protection orders previously, the home situation is “untenable”, she does not feel confident for her safety and is concerned her young children will not thrive.

She said she and her husband live separately in the house and have not been intimate for more than 18 months. She said there were “many incidents” of concern to her, including abusive language by him towards her and the children, banging and shouting and disconnecting the heating and water on occasions during the winter months.

“When I turn on the light, he turns it off,” she said. The house is old and cold and she had to wear a coat downstairs, where she and the children spent much of the time, while he was “cosy” upstairs, she said.

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This was “total power and control”, she had been subject to coercive control for more than a decade and the court was hearing “just a snapshot”.

The children have additional needs but he maintains that is “a load of bulls**t”, she said.

“I am regularly called a c**t, bastard, bollocks, effing head case and the kids are now using those words towards me.” the woman said.

She left home with the children for a few days in 2022 and stayed in a hotel because the women’s refuge was full, she said. She and her husband reconciled on her return as she believed things had changed.

In January, she went to stay a few days with a relatives to get away from “his controlling coercive behaviour”, she said.

“It’s not a home, it is a house, a very unhappy place to me. I am absolutely in fear of him, I think he’ll flip his lid and murder me.”

The woman said she got married “for better or worse” but a divorce or separation is the “next step”. They had not officially broken up and the man does not have drink or drug issues, she agreed in cross-examination.

“It would be a relief if he was barred from the home today, sadly it would be a relief. If not, I’ll be back on the run again with two children in the boot. I don’t want to uproot the kids, they should be able to stay there but they are not happy, safe or secure. I’m putting up with verbal and mental abuse from them now, monkey does what monkey sees.”

She had reported some matters to gardaí and Tusla but a social worker investigating her complaints is on annual leave and she had not heard from the agency. “It all makes me feel useless, worthless.”

She has a number of serious medical conditions and is awaiting surgery, she added.

After the woman got an interim barring order in late January, applicable for a maximum eight days, the case returned before Judge Gerard Furlong at the domestic violence court in Dolphin House, Dublin.

The woman and man both attended and were separately represented. The woman sought a full barring order, which the man opposed.

After the woman’s evidence, the judge said he did not consider it met the threshold for a barring order, which would exclude the man from the house. He said he was prepared to grant a safety order, to apply pending a full hearing, and suggested the parties discuss that.

After discussions outside court, the judge was told the man would agree to a six-month safety order and the woman wanted a one-year safety order.

After further exchanges, the man agreed to a one-year safety order that restrains violent or threatening behaviour towards the woman and children. The judge said there must be no derogatory references to, or about the woman, in the presence of the children, the man must not turn off the heat or water except for repairs and must unblock the woman’s phone number as both parents are obliged to have means of contact with each other about the children.

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