Northern Ireland

Pearse McAuley sentenced to 12 years for attacking his ex-wife

Pearse McAuley arrived at court in Cavan on Wednesday in handcuffs
Image caption Pearse McAuley arrived at court in Cavan on Wednesday in handcuffs

A convicted IRA Garda killer has been sentenced to 12 years, the last four suspended, for stabbing his estranged wife 13 times with a steak knife in front of their two children.

Prominent republican Pearse McAuley had also pleaded guilty to a number of other charges, including falsely imprisoning Pauline Tully.

The dispute happened when McAuley, 50, with an address at Cavan Bank Walk, Ballyconnell, County Cavan, arrived at a property in Kilderry, Kilnaleck, Cavan on 24 December last year.

Cavan Circuit Criminal Court had previously heard that Pauline Tully, a secondary school teacher and former Sinn Féin councillor, believed McAuley was trying to kill her.

She said she began praying as she was convinced she was going to die.

Ms Tully told the court that McAuley, who is originally from Strabane, arrived early for an appointment, but immediately accused her of seeing another man.

Image copyright RTE
Image caption Pearse McAuley, seen here after his arrest for the offences, is originally from Strabane in County Tyrone

The couple had been separated for 11 months.

She said their children, aged seven and four, were on the stairs when he arrived and that he had been drinking.

She added he told the children to say 'goodbye' to their mother as he was attacking her.

Ms Tully was treated in hospital for 13 stab wounds to her neck, hand, chest and abdomen.

Image caption The case was heard at Cavan Circuit Criminal Court

McAuley pleaded guilty to producing a knife, to false imprisonment and to intentionally causing serious harm.

He also pleaded guilty to threatening to kill Ms Tully's brother, Tommy who arrived at the scene during the attack.

The judge described McAuley's crimes as being most serious.

He paid tribute to Ms Tully for courageously and with great dignity giving her impact statement last Friday.

He said he noted and gave credit for the early guilty plea, his co-operation with gardaí (Irish police) and his genuine expression of remorse.

The judge said he also noted McAuley's attempts to get treatment for his alcoholism, his work with others suffering from the same condition, his work for the peace process and his exemplary behaviour in prison.

Image caption Pauline Tully declined to comment on the length of the sentence given to her estranged husband

Speaking outside the court, Ms Tully said that it had been a difficult time for herself and her children as they looked forward to Christmas, but that she was getting by with the help of family and friends.

She declined to comment on the length of the sentence given to her estranged husband.

McAuley was released in 2009 after serving 10 and a half years for the manslaughter of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe during an armed raid on a post office van at Adare in County Limerick in 1996.

He escaped from Brixton prison in 1991 with Nessan Quinlivan where they were on remand on suspicion for attempting to murder the brewer Sir Charles Tidbury.

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