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Garda killer told sons “say goodbye to your mum” as he stabbed her

Pearse McAuley (Pics: Herald)
Pearse McAuley (Pics: Herald)

Garda killer Pearse McAuley told his children to say goodbye to their mother as he stabbed her 13 times with a steak knife on Christmas Eve last year, a court has heard.

McAuley - who was among those convicted of killing Detective Garda Jerry McCabe in 1996 - stabbed, punched and kicked Pauline Tully over the course of two-and-a-half hours Cavan Circuit Criminal Court was told.

In her harrowing victim impact statement, Ms Tully told how on the morning of December 24 last year, at approximately 11am, her children heard a knock on the front door. When she opened the door, McAuley punched her in the face.

She recalled how their two sons, aged seven and four, were standing on the stairs absolutely shocked.

"They got such a fright, but he didn't care. Both of the them started crying. He told them that I had another man, to which my eldest son answered 'she hasn't'."

She told the court how McAuley then started rummaging in the pocket of his tracksuit bottoms, and she expected him to produce a gun.

However, he took out a steak knife, and then dragged her by the arm into the kitchen.

He told her that if he couldn't have her "no one else could".

She said he then said he was going to kill her before plunging the "dinner knife" into her upper chest, puncturing her lung.

"I lost a lot of blood. If I bent over the blood came rushing out. "I got a tea towel and pushed it against, where the blood was coming out."

Ms Tully said he subjected her to severe "verbal and emotional abuse" during the ordeal, adding that she was treated "worse than an animal".

She began to pray, as she was convinced she was going to die.

"There was a lot of blood. I silently spoke to my parents and asked them to meet me in the afterlife if I did die. I was so worried about the children who he had sent upstairs, and prayed that they would be okay."

The couple had separated 11 months earlier.

McAuley kept asking her the name of the man he believed she was seeing, she told the court.

"I kept telling him there was no one. Every time he came at me with the knife I screamed and tried to protect myself. I received stab wounds to my hands from trying to protect myself. The floor was covered in blood.

"He called the boys down to say goodbye to me. He wouldn't allow them to hold me. I was sure I was going to die and not see my children grow up.

"I'm adamant it was a clear, calculated attempt, to kill me."

Pauline Tully

She said she decided to try and remain calm so as not to agitate McAuley. He then took a bottle of Coole Swan, a liquor, from the fridge and began drinking it.

Every so often he would make a "scraping noise" with the knife along the worktop in the kitchen to frighten her.

He would then laugh, she added. When she noticed that McCauley was "nodding off" to sleep, Ms Tully shuffled quietly towards the back door and managed to raise the alarm.

"I did it quietly because I was afraid he would wake up and come after me."

Ms Tully was treated in Cavan General Hospital for stab wounds to her neck, hand, chest, and abdomen.

She said she's "totally heartbroken" for what her young children went through.

And while her physical wounds would heal, she added that it's the emotional scars that she and her children will struggle to live with.

"As a result of this torment I fear the nightmares and flashbacks, as well as daily memories of all I endured."

She said her eldest child had a dream that "my head was cut off, but I was still alive".

Both children have received counselling.

"They should never have had to see this. It is something they will never forget."

McAuley (50), of Ballyconnell, County Cavan, has pleaded guilty to four charges.

He admitted producing a knife during a dispute. He also pleaded guilty to falsely imprisoning Ms Tully and with intentionally/recklessly causing serious harm to her.

McAuley has also pleaded guilty to threatening to kill her brother Tommy during the same incident.

Judge John Aylmer remanded McAuley in custody and adjourned the case until Wednesday for sentencing.

Herald