A DRIMOLEAGUE man ran a ‘campaign of evil’ against his ex-girlfriend which, she said, left her terrorised.
Tadgh McCormack, 43, of Dromusta, Bantry Road, Drimoleague, pleaded guilty to harassment of his ex-girlfriend between August and December last year.
Cork Circuit Court heard how he printed out personal texts from when they were together and left them to be found in her local pub.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said at Cork Circuit Criminal Court: ‘This was a deliberate, concerted effort to undermine her in a personal and vicious way in any possible location where she might be known. It merits a prison sentence. It was outrageous and continuous.’
The judge said that counselling of the offender had been of great assistance.
He imposed a two-and-a-half-year sentence, which he suspended on condition that McCormack would have no contact, direct or indirect, with the woman for the next three years. The judge also directed him to continue in counselling.
Detective Garda Hugh Byrne testified that the woman was in a relationship with the accused which broke up in May 2017.
He was convicted at his local district court and fined €400 for harassing the same woman and he was ordered not to be within 500 metres of her place of work.
However, the harassment for which he was before the recent Cork Circuit Criminal Court, had occurred after the district court conviction.
It involved printing out four pages of intimate texts between the two parties from when they were in a relationship and leaving the print-outs in places that caused maximum embarrassment to the woman.
McCormack also put dates on the texts suggesting that they had just been sent and that their relationship was ongoing, despite the fact that she had been in a new relationship for several months.
Det Garda Byrne said the pages of texts were put into a ‘polypocket’ and left at the woman’s local pub. Another copy of the same messages was left in a polypocket at the home of her new partner’s family.
The woman became aware of the material being left in these locations and contacted gardaí.
They obtained a warrant to search his home and found the items on his phone and computer and there was a printer in the house also. These items were confiscated. Det Garda Byrne said that when they questioned McCormack about the harassment, he suggested that the complainant might have left the pages in those two locations herself to get him into trouble. He made no admissions to gardaí, but later pleaded guilty to the harassment.
In her victim impact statement, the woman said the relationship broke down due to McCormack’s infidelity.
‘Seven months after parting, he launched a campaign of harassment against me that has left me close to despair. It has escalated in its intensity and frequency,’ she said.
She said she had suffered from his bullying and intimidation and that the displaying of old text messages had been devastating, mortifying and frightening for her.
‘I have no place for him in my life – what does it take for this message to be understood? I am afraid to be in his vicinity. I know he will blame me for the predicament in which he finds himself. This was a campaign of evil to undermine me in his deluded sense of entitlement. His actions terrorised me. He has no remorse or empathy,’ she said.
The judge referred to him being a suicide risk if he was imprisoned. The judge said he had read reports in the media about the lack of suicide watch in Cork prison and he did not have any information to suggest this had improved. ‘I cannot close my eyes and say I do not know about it,’ the judge said, in relation to the suicide watch regime.
Defence barrister Sinead Behan said the accused had brought €3,000 compensation to court for the injured party.