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Love costs Dad-of-five used his wedding ring to carve messages to wife in nearby cell

Judge Sandra Murphy imposed a suspended two month prison term on Martin Joyce (30) and fined him €300 fine for the €250 worth of criminal damage at Ennis Garda Station

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Martin Joyce

Martin Joyce

Martin Joyce

A man used his wedding ring to scrape out two 12 inch messages of love into a cell wall at a Garda Station for his pregnant wife.

At Ennis Garda Station, Martin Joyce last week committed the criminal damage when carving out the messages to his wife, Annie (30) who was being held in a nearby cell at the same station.

At Ennis District Court on Wednesday, Judge Sandra Murphy imposed a suspended two month prison term on Mr Joyce (30) and fined him €300 fine for the €250 worth of criminal damage at Ennis Garda Station on February 10th last.

Mr Joyce of St Enda’s, Beechpark, Ennis pleaded guilty to causing the criminal damage without lawful excuse when scraping the paint off the wall to make the messages.

On Wednesday of last week, Mr Joyce and his wife, Annie Joyce were in separate cells at Ennis Garda Station ahead of their appearance at the local district court on Thursday morning concerning the execution of bench warrants for the two.

In court today, Sgt Aiden Lonergan stated that Mr Joyce while in his own cell scraped out with his wedding ring 12 inch letters that read ‘Martin Loves Annie & Kids 10-2-21’ and ‘Martin Annie Joyce 10-2-21’.

Solicitor for Mr Joyce, Tara Godfrey told the court “it was a particularly poignant moment” when husband and wife were both in cells at the same station.

Ms Godfrey stated that Martin Joyce had used his wedding ring to write a message of love to his wife and children.

She stated: “All of us when we are trapped and our liberty is taken from the Count of Monte Cristo down have made some sort of mark on their prison walls.”

Ms Godfrey stated that the married Joyce couple are the parents of five children from 11 years to 11 months and were in the cells with their mothers looking after their children.

Ms Godfrey stated that “it was a time of enormous emotional pressure and my client wrote that he loved his wife and his children on the wall”.

Ms Godfrey stated that Annie Joyce is pregnant with the couple’s sixth child and was due to attend hospital for a pregnancy scan the following day.

Ms Godfrey stated: “I appreciate that all criminal damage is serious because you are affecting property that doesn’t belong to you.”

She added “My client has no previous convictions for this. It is very unfortunate that it happened and I would ask the court to take into mind the particular circumstances and show leniency.”

Concerning a separate offence, Judge Murphy did impose a six month jail term on Mr Joyce for the theft of Horse Wormer worth €18.95 at McGrath’s Saddlery at Ashline, Kilrush Td on June 8th 2018.

Sgt Lonergan stated that after Mr Joyce stuffed the Horse Wormer down his trousers, a female retail worker intervened and asked him to put the bottle back.

In response, Mr Joyce told the woman “be careful now or I will belt ya”.

Ms Godfrey said her client had experienced a number of family tragedies including the murder of his brother in England in 2016.

Mr Joyce has eight previous convictions for theft and Judge Murphy stated that she was taking his previous record into account when imposing the prison term.

Mr Joyce was today appearing in court via video link from prison and told Judge Murphy that he apologised for his actions.

Mr Joyce’s wife, Annie also appeared via video link from prison today and she was further remanded in custody.

In court last Thursday after remanding her in custody concerning a number of alleged theft offences, Judge Patrick Durcan made what he called the “very unusual” request to Gardai to bring Ms Joyce to Limerick maternity hospital en route to Limerick prison for her pregnancy scan.

Ms Godfrey told Judge Durcan that the couple’s youngest child, a baby boy is due to celebrate his birthday on February 18th, Thursday.

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