"These offences were carried out in a fit of extreme violence towards his partner and children and it was clear it was fuelled by a concoction of drugs and alcohol which, quite rightly, has not been advanced as an excuse or as something which provides mitigation,” said Judge John Aylmer prior to sentencing Daniel McGreevy to three years in prison with the final year suspended and the sentence backdated to November 5, 2017, the date of the offences and his arrest.
Flagged down member of the public
The court heard from Sgt Brian Lee who gave evidence of a report being received at Carrick-on-Shannon Garda Station shortly after midnight on the date in question.
Sgt Lee said a motorist travelling on the Drumsna road at Garvlough, Carrick-on-Shannon was flagged down by a member of the public using a light from their mobile phone to seek help. The woman was accompanied by an infant with the motorist quickly noticing a man (Mr McGreevy) stripped from the waist up.
Mr McGreevy, with addresses at Garvlough, Carrick-on-Shannon and Castlerea Prison was said to have shouted, “F**king go, go,” in the direction of the motorist who became afraid and left before subsequently phoning the Gardaí.
Gardaí arrived at the house between 12.25 and 12.30am. Mr McGreevy emerged from the house and was said to be “highly aggressive” towards the two female Gardaí.
Mr McGreevy was said to have shouted at the Gardaí to “Get to f**k off my property” and not to come back unless they had a warrant.
Pinned against the wall
The two Gardaí left the scene with Sgt Lee and five colleagues attending the house shortly afterwards.
In evidence Sgt Lee said they stopped discreetly before arriving at the house and observed all the lights were on in the rooms downstairs and the curtains were open.
“I could see Daniel McGreevy had Shauna Fitzpatrick pinned against the wall and was shouting.”
Sgt Lee continued, “Shauna Fitzpatrick was holding an infant of 11 days and to say she looked afraid would be an understatement.”
Gardaí went to the front door of the house where they were met by the defendant who was shouting, ‘Have you a warrant?”
Gardaí entered the house using force under the Child Protection Act where they met Shauna Fitzpatrick who said she thought Mr McGreevy was going to kill her and her children.
In another room Gardaí discovered a child hiding under a blanket and also observed a Moses basket overturned.
Threw baby out the door
Gardaí were told the defendant had thrown the 11 day old baby out the door with the baby nearly falling out of its basket and a four year child was thrown from his bed.
The injured parties were removed from the scene and the defendant was arrested.
Sgt Lee said the following day the defendant was interviewed while on remand in Castlerea, replying he could not remember the events of the night. He denied putting pressure on Ms Fitzpatrick to withdraw her statements.
“He was in no way able to help. He said he couldn’t remember.” Sgt Lee said the defendant indicated “some remorse,” but noted, “A lot of his replies were ‘no comment’.”
Following a High Court order a number of phone calls made by the defendant to Ms Fitzpatrick were recorded.
Sgt Lee gave evidence detailing the first interview given to Gardaí on November 6 in which she said the incident started at 9 or 10pm. Mr McGreevy “started shouting and grabbing her hair and boxed her in the head.”
The court heard the defendant’s cousins and a nephew who were in their 20s were in the house but did not intervene.
Threats to stab
Mr McGreevy was said to have threatened to stab Ms Fitzpatrick and the four year old was said to have been “crying frantically.” Mr McGreevy was reported to have said, “He would stab her if the baby didn’t stop crying.”
Sgt Lee said he later returned to the house having obtained a warrant and knife marks were visible.
Evidence of Ms Fitzpatrick’s second statement was also given in which she said the defendant tried to feed the 11 day old baby with a scalding hot bottle.
Sgt Lee said three males who were in the house on the night in question, a nephew and two cousins of the defendant refused to give statements.
Sgt Lee asked one of the men why they left the house to which he replied, “Did you want the three of us to be killed?”
Sgt Lee added, “They didn’t assist matters any further.”
The court heard the defendant is 31-years-old and is originally from Clondalkin, Dublin and has a total of 30 previous convictions for offences primarily for drug and road traffic offences.
Sgt Lee added, “The injured party wants to give evidence but feels too nervous. She has nightmares and flashbacks like a video playing in her head.”
During cross-examination Eileen O’Leary BL (defence) referred to an interview given to Gardaí in which he said, “I’m disgusted. I loved Shauna and the kids more than anything in the world.”
When asked by Ms O’Leary if he thought the defendant was remorseful, Sgt Lee replied, “Yes on the one hand but he was continuously seeking money in the initial months after the incident.”
Ms O’Leary referred to the defendant’s background saying he had become exposed to drugs at a young age while his mother died when he was 14 , a sister died in 2003 and a brother died in 2004 and in 2007 his best friend was murdered.
“Those deaths had a devastating effect on him and he turned to drugs. He has been struggling with drug abuse since he was 16.”
Addressing Judge Aylmer, Ms O’Leary said, “It is a terribly serious assault, I wouldn’t want to try to minimise the seriousness of it. I ask you to offer him the opportunity to continue to rehabilitate himself.”
Having heard the evidence Judge Aylmer commented, “The offences are on the upper end of the scale of domestic violence, that is the assault on his partner and the assault on his children and as such each of the counts would merit the sentence of four years in prison before taking into account mitigating circumstances,” he said.
Judge Aylmer outlined the mitigating circumstances as an early guilty plea, that none of his previous convictions were for violence and so these offences were out of character.
He also noted that while on remand since 6 November 2017, Mr McGreevy has commenced rehabilitation by completing an introductory course into anger management and has been seeking treatment for his drug addiction. The Judge said he has expressed some remorse to his ex partner by way of letters and to the Gardai.
He said it is fortunate there are no long term physical injuries to the victims although it is clear the psychological effect on them must be long term.
He also noted there is an underlying drug and alcohol addiction problem and Mr McGreevy is a person who had a difficult upbringing. The Judge said he is “badly in need of rehabilitation and counselling and must be encouraged in that.”
He reduced the sentence to three years on each count of assault causing harm; production of an article (knife) capable of causing harm and endangerment of the 11 day old baby. The sentences are to run concurrently, backdated to November 5, 2017, the date of the offences and his arrest.
He then proposed to incentivise him by suspending the last 12 months of the sentence on condition he enter a bond of €100 and be of good behaviour for two years and during that time he abstain completely from alcohol, drugs and any other unprescribed intoxicants and remain under the supervision of the Probation Service and follow all recommendations and instructions of the Probation Officer.
During that time he must also avail of and access all support, counselling and therapeutic programmes recommended and made available to him by the Probation Service in relation to intimate partner violence, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, anger management and any other matter deemed appropriate.
Daniel McGreevy, Garvlough, Carrick-on-Shannon also appeared in Carrick-on-Shannon District Court on Monday, July 2 to face charges relating to the same incident above which were not added to the indictment for the Circuit Court last week.
Mr McGreevy was convicted and sentenced to five months in prison for boxing Shauna Fitzpatrick in the head (section 2 assault) and five months concurrent for violently shaking the 11 day old infant Daniel Fitzpatrick (section 2 assault).
The sentence is due to start from July 2, 2018. The three other assaults on Shauna Fitzpatrick, as well as criminal damage and public order offences on the same night were taken into consideration.
Sgt Brian Lee explained that the defendant threw the Moses basket, with the 11 day old baby inside it, out the door, breaking the Moses basket. He also said a lamp was broken after being thrown at Shauna Fitzpatrick.
He told the court the violence was understood to have occurred between 9pm and 1am.
Four year old crying under blankets
Sgt Lee said when he arrived he witnessed the defendant pinning up Shauna Fitzpatrick with his hand on her chest and another “around her neck.” He added Ms Fitzpatrick was “holding the baby at the time.”
The Gardai said Ms Fitzpatrick was traumatised and “she thought he was going to kill her and the kids.” They found the four-year-old “crying under the blankets in another room.”
Sgt Brian Lee said the defendant was “somewhat remorseful” the next morning but could not remember the events, Sgt Lee understood he had been “celebrating the new baby” and drinking that night.
The defence outlined their client’s “difficult background” which included the deaths of his mother and two siblings close together, when he was a teenager.
Judge Kevin Kilrane called it a “night of terror” fuelled by alcohol. He said it was very fortunate that “nobody was killed, that the infant was not killed.”
He added the “appalling incident was the most violent domestic dispute.”
If you are affected by anything in this report please contact Women's Aid Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900 or DVAS Domestic Violence Advocacy Service for Sligo, Leitrim and West Cavan Helpline: 071 9141515.