NewsCrime Desk

Shop worker makes weekly visits to garda killer and wife beater

Crime DeskBy Nicola Tallant
Mary Shields
Mary Shields

This is the young woman who is standing by savage wife beater and garda killer Pearse McAuley.

Pound shop worker Mary Shiels, from Strabane in Co. Tyrone stood by brutal IRA thug McAuley in court this week and even blew him kisses to him as he was led away to jail for a horror stab attack on his former wife, schoolteacher Pauline Tully.

He stabbed her 13 times last Christmas Eve as their terrified children hid upstairs.

The Sunday World understands that McAuley was already in a new relationship with Ms Shiels at that point and the couple had got together shortly after his marriage fell apart.

She is his only visitor at Castlerea Prison and makes the three-hour trip from Strabane every week. She was also the only supporter when he was sentenced to eight years for the attack.

Friends say she knew McAuley, a native of Strabane, through a mutual friend and romance blossomed when he split from his wife in February 2014 after the first violent assault on her in a Dublin hotel on Valentine’s Night.

The 38-year-old boasts openly about her relationship with McAuley and has vowed to wait for him to get out of jail.

“She is crazy about him. She doesn’t care what was said in court. She believes he is the one for her,” a source said.

Yesterday Pauline Tully told how she thought she would die during the attack on her, which began when McAuley called to say he would be bringing a turkey on Christmas Eve.

She described how, over a three-hour period, he stabbed her intermittently 13 times as he demanded a name of a man he wrongly believed she had begun a relationship with.

Over and again he said “if I can’t have you nobody will” and at one point lay down beside her on the floor in a pool of her blood.

She described how her little boys, then aged seven and three, hid upstairs and only took comfort when they heard their mother’s screams as they knew she was still alive.

Pauline, a former Councillor, described how she had first met McAuley when he was serving a 14-year term for the manslaughter of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe at the time, along with three other provos.

“We got to know one another and a relationship began. I fell in love with him,” she told Marian Finucane on her radio show.

“He got released from prison for the wedding. We tried to keep it as quiet as possible. I was conscious of her feelings [widow Anne McCabe] and we didn’t plan to get any media attention, but somehow it was leaked out and it was splattered all over the place.”

Following his release from jail in 2009 Pauline realised McAuley had a difficulty with alcohol and would become abusive and threatening towards her.

“Things were rocky and in February [2014] I could almost feel the tension building up again. We went to Dublin to a function and we were staying in a hotel. That night he put his hands around my throat and I couldn’t breath. I tried to fight back and when he let go I went into the bathroom. He came in and tried to choke me again. I screamed and screamed.”

Pearse McCauley

Pauline said other hotel guests came to her rescue and the Gardaí were called. She got an interim barring order and within two months got a legal separation.

McAuley attended addiction treatment and she let him see the children, but while he hoped they would get back together she didn’t want to.

On Christmas Eve he knocked on the door at 11am and began to act out a scene straight from a horror movie.

“As soon as he came in he lifted his fist and hit me in the left eye. I got such a shock and the boys got such a shock and he started accusing me of seeing someone else.

 “He got me by the arm and told the boys to go upstairs. That was 11am. He was there until 2.30pm. I had no concept of time, but it was a dreadful ordeal,” she said.

He stabbed her in the upper chest, back, hand and punched her repeatedly.

“At one stage he came over and kicked me in the back and boxed me in the head and other times he would come and stab me.

“He brought the boys down at one stage to say goodbye to me, but he wouldn’t let them hug me. It wasn’t frenzied. It was intermittent.

Calmly McAuley sat on the worktop while Pauline lay on the floor in a pool of her own blood.

She eventually made up the name of a man and said he appeared to become calmer when she did. He put down the knife and started drinking, then lay down on the floor beside Pauline.

Incredibly McAuley fell asleep and Pauline managed to drag herself out the door where she flagged down a neighbour who went to get help.

McAuley came after her again when she locked herself inside a car and ran off before he was eventually arrested.

She says she lives in fear for the day that MacAuley is released:

“I am frightened for when he comes out. I am frightened he will come after me again.”