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walking free Thug Kevin Dunleavy released back to home county despite beating and threatening his former partner

Our pictures show Dunleavy, the first man in Ireland to be convicted of the coercive control of his partner, walking free from Castlerea prison after serving just 16 months of his 21-month prison sentence.

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Woman beater Dunleavy swore at our photographer as he was released from Castlerea.

Woman beater Dunleavy swore at our photographer as he was released from Castlerea.

Woman beater Dunleavy swore at our photographer as he was released from Castlerea.

Bully boy Kevin Dunleavy was driven straight back to the county where he bashed and harassed his ex-partner after being released from prison on Friday.

Our pictures show Dunleavy, the first man in Ireland to be convicted of the coercive control of his partner, walking free from Castlerea prison after serving just 16 months of his 21-month prison sentence.

The woman-beater, who bombarded his ex-partner with almost 6,000 phone calls over a three month period, had the conditions of his release altered at Letterkenny Circuit Court two weeks ago to allow his return to the county where she still lives.

Spotting our photographer as he emerged from the prison, Dunleavy yelled out: 'You f**king c**t' before getting into a Cork registered car and being driven from the scene.

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Dunleavy was angry when we snapped him being collected from the prison.

Dunleavy was angry when we snapped him being collected from the prison.

Dunleavy was angry when we snapped him being collected from the prison.

Sources have confirmed to the Sunday World that within two hours of leaving the Roscommon prison, Dunleavy was back in Kerrykeel, Co Donegal.

Two weeks ago, Letterkenny Circuit Court altered conditions set down as part of Dunleavy's original sentence which prohibited his return to the county where the injured party still lives.

Advantage

The change was made after the court accepted submissions on his behalf that the 33-year-old has nowhere else to live.

Speaking with the Sunday World, the woman , who requested she not be named in the media in the future, described the decision by the Circuit Court to lift the ban as a disgrace.

"Getting out nine months early was bad enough," she said, "but for him to be allowed back into Donegal is a disgrace.

"He has used Covid to his advantage ... if it hadn't been for Covid he wouldn't have had a chance of getting it overturned.

"I've had a lot of support and a lot of people contacting me since this came up again at the Circuit Court.

"But I'm getting on with my life ... I'm putting what he did behind me."

Dunleavy was given a 21-month prison sentence in February last year after he pleaded guilty to harassing his ex-partner by bombarding her with almost 6,000 phone calls in just a three-month period in 2019.

The 33-year-old Co Donegal man became so obsessed with his girlfriend and mother of his son that he forced her to take her phone everywhere with her so he knew where she was.

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Kevin Dunleavey

Kevin Dunleavey

Kevin Dunleavey

He called on her on Facetime and made her scan the place she was at so he knew exactly where she was.

He pleaded guilty to a number of charges including coercive control, harassment and making threats to damage property.

Coercive control is the way an abusive person, currently or previously an intimate partner, gains and maintains power and control over another person by subjecting them to psychological, physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse, regardless of gender or sexuality.

During the original sentence hearing in 2019 at Letterkenny Circuit Court, Detective Garda Darren Carter had revealed family and friends of the woman, a mother of three, were genuinely fearful for her safety from Dunleavy.

He gave a detailed account of a number of incidents in which the accused threatened and attacked her.

On one occasion, he came into a bar and pulled her out by the collar of her jumper and gave her a severe beating.

He also burnt her clothes and broke her hair straighteners to prevent her from going out.

The couple had known each other since they were both 14 years old and had been going out since 2012.

In what was the first successful prosecution of coercive control in the country, Judge John Aylmer sentenced Dunleavy to a total of two-and-a-w half years but suspended the final nine months of the sentence.

Address

As part of his release conditions, Dunleavy was due to live and work in Dublin with his uncle who operated a painting and decorating company.

However, an application was made by Dunleavy's barrister, Mr Peter Nolan, at Letterkenny Circuit Court that he be allowed to reside at his family home in Kerrykeel because the offer of the original address and job in Dublin was no longer there.

Mr Nolan said that his client had no problem with all the other conditions imposed by the court, including having no contact with the victim and remaining under the care and supervision of the probation services. However, he now found himself homeless and jobless as a result of the collapse of his uncle's decorating business in Dublin due to the downturn from the Covid pandemic.

Mr Nolan argued that the victim in the case now lives in Letterkenny which is 20 miles from Kerrykeel and that his client is prepared to give any undertaking the court required not to go near her or her family.

However, Garda Darren Carter strongly objected to the application, saying that this condition had been of great comfort to the victim.

Safety

"Our main concern is the welfare and safety of the victim," he said.

"We still believe he poses a risk and he has shown previously that he will not abide by the conditions imposed."

He added that although the victim is living in Letterkenny she is originally from Milford and her family is from the wider Milford and Kerrykeel area and she depends on them for a support network.

"We believe it is best if Mr Dunleavy is not resident in the county," he added.

A letter read out in court from Jerry Williams, the Resettlement Officer at Castlerea Prison, said that he was concerned that Dunleavy may be at risk of coming to harm if he had nowhere to go once released and asked if the condition made "pre-Covid" could be changed.

Barrister Nolan suggested that it would be "draconian" to allow Dunleavy to leave prison with no support, saying there is a way around this.

Judge John Aylmer said that when the decision was made that Dunleavy would reside in Dublin it was made pre-Covid but that everything is so different and "unfortunately that has changed".

He said the court had to now go a different way to devise a different end for Dunleavy's release.

Access

To that end, he imposed a number of conditions including that Dunleavy does not come within 10km of Letterkenny unless he is enjoying pre-arranged access to his son and that he not come within 50 metres of his victim and two other named parties.

Addressing Dunleavy directly, Judge Aylmer said: "I want to impress upon Mr Dunleavy that if there is any breach of that order then the probation service must bring the matter back to me.

"This will mean that it is capable of triggering the balance of the nine-month sentence so you better be very careful and not to be in any breach."

  • Anyone affected by the contents of this article can contact Women's Aid on 1800 341 900 or womensaid.ie. A list of regional domestic violence services can be found at safeireland.ie


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