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horror threats Businessman who placed belt around his wife's neck and lifted her from chair is jailed

On the 9th of December 2020 he phoned Miss Quirke and said “the guards will not be around you when you need them most."

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Michael Quirke

Michael Quirke

Michael Quirke

A man in his fifties who called to a garda station and told officers that he had threatened to murder his ex wife and had also assaulted her by placing a belt around her neck and lifting her from a chair has been jailed for five years.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that Michael Quirke of Manor Hills, Lisnigar, Rathcormac, Co Cork had placed a GPS tracking device on the car of his ex wife Mary in order to monitor her movements.

Judge Sean O’Donnabhain was also told that having been charged with the offences the 53-year-old contacted Mary Quirke by phone whilst on bail and warned her that he would still be the same man when he got out of prison.

On the 9th of December 2020 he phoned Miss Quirke and said “the guards will not be around you when you need them most.

"When I get out of jail, be it two years, I will be the same. You won’t have that Garda protection you have now. You have the 24 hour around the clock armed response and they won’t be there when you need them the most.”

Detective Garda David Barry said that Quirke called to Fermoy Garda Station in Co Cork on the 31st of January 2019.

He told gardai he had assaulted Mary Quirke on two occasions.

On the first occasion on a date in 2018 he placed a belt around her neck and lifted her from the chair with it. In the second instance in 2019 he held her against a wall and told her he’d get a rope and hang her.

He pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Mary Quirke, two counts of threatening to kill her and one count of harassment.

Det Garda David Barry said Mary and Michael Quirke divorced in 2013 but lived in the same home for several years.

He said when Quirke presented to gardai in January of 2019 he told them that he had attempted to murder Mary Quirke.

“He said (that it happened on two occasions) . In the bedroom at their home (in 2018) he put a trouser belt around her neck and lifted her off the chair for three seconds. He said it was his intention to kill Mary Quirke on this date.

"Their (adult children) heard a loud scream. The were prevented (by Quirke) from entering the room.”

Det Garda Barry said that Quirke told them that at a date towards the end of January 2019 he held his ex wife against the wall.

“He said ‘I did threaten her that I had a rope in the shed and I would hang her. If my hands came out (out of his pockets) I would have killed her.”

The court heard that Mr Quirke - who owned a fuel company and was also involved in property development - had a dependence on alcohol and serious psychiatric issues.

In a victim impact statement Mary Quirke said that she was hopeful that her husband would receive all necessary medical assistance.

"I wish Michael all the best with his future and I hope he seeks professional help going forward as things cannot continue like this, as someday in the future matters will go too far and someone in the family will get hurt or worse."

She said that she and her children were "mentally scarred" as a result of the incident.

"I do not believe that Michael Quirke understands the consequences of his previous actions. I am very concerned that if he is released from custody, similar and probably more serious incidents will occur.

"For this reason I am afraid for my own safety of my three children. And my three children share my fears and are very concerned as to the possibility of losing a parent or both parents or worse still a sibling over a matter which has got out of control."

She said that she believed her husband needed to be excluded from the townland of Lisnagar as he was previously under the terms of his bail conditions.

Barrister Siobhan Lankford, SC, said her client was deeply remorseful and ashamed of his actions.

She said that Quirke, who suffers from bi-polar disorder, has voluntarily admitted himself to psychiatric hospitals on a number of occasions.

She added that the Quirkes had been married for 35 years up until their separation in 2010 and that her client’s ex wife had helped him to obtain support for his psychiatric issues.

Judge Sean O’Donnabhain sentenced Quirke to six years in jail, suspending the final year of the sentence. He ordered that Quirke have no contact direct or indirect with the injured party or her family at any stage in the future.

Mr Quirke was sentenced by video link from Cork Prison. He was visibly emotional throughout the sentencing hearing.

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