A Westport man who assaulted his ex-girlfriend and threatened to break her spine was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment at last week’s sitting of Belmullet District Court.
Tom Collins (20) of 25 Michael Davitt Park, Golf Course Road, Westport, appeared before the court charged with a number of offences, which included theft, assault, public order offences and making threatening phone calls to his ex-girlfriend.
Mr Collins made the threatening phone calls to his ex-girlfriend on May 21 and 23, 2011, while he was in custody in St Patrick’s Institution. The court heard that during the first phone call, Mr Collins asked her not to go to court and give evidence against him. The second phone call was far more threatening.
During the call, he threatened to break her and her brother’s spines and burn her family’s home down. He also said he would kill her. The phone calls were investigated by the Gardaí after a court order to listen to the recordings of the phonecalls was secured.
The court was also told that on July 23, 2011, gardaí in Westport received a phone call from the ex-girlfriend, who stated that Mr Collins had held her head and banged it against a wall. Inspector Joe McKenna explained that when gardaí arrived at her home, they found her in an upset state and her face was swollen.
Judge Denis McLoughlin was told that Mr Collins had eleven previous convictions and had been remanded in custody since August 2011. Inspector McKenna explained that Mr Collins was also responsible for the theft of a laptop worth €495 from a business in Westport on March 7, 2011. He was also involved in an altercation on July 30, 2011, at The Cresent, Westport, which resulted in him being arrested for a public-order offence.
Mr Adrian McGlynn, defence solicitor said his client has had a sad history, which was reflected in his previous convictions. He said Mr Collins had spent his time in Castlerea Prison wisely and was engaging in a number of educational courses. While acknowledging that the charges were serious, he said his client was trying to make amends, and he asked Judge McLoughlin to be as lenient as he could.
Judge McLoughlin told Mr Collins that he was lucky he had not committed the offences while on bail – if he had, he would have been facing consecutive sentences. He sentenced Mr Collins to six months’ imprisonment for the theft of the laptop and six months for assaulting and threatening his girlfriend, with the sentences to run concurrently. The sentence was also backdated to August 23, 2011.