Northern Ireland

Pearse McAuley's estranged wife Pauline Tully speaks of domestic violence

Pauline Tully
Image caption Pauline Tully met Pearse McAuley while visiting him in prison

The estranged wife of a convicted IRA garda killer has spoken of the violence she suffered at his hands.

Pearse McAuley was jailed on Wednesday for stabbing Pauline Tully 13 times with a steak knife last Christmas Eve in front of their two children.

Ms Tully told RTÉ how his alcoholism had made him increasingly violent during their marriage.

She said the attack at her County Cavan home was not frenzied, and lasted between 11:00 and 14:30 GMT.


"I didn't know where it was going to end - I actually thought it was the end for me, that I wasn't going to survive this time," she told the Marian Finucane show.

"He stabbed me in the upper chest area and I remember him sticking the knife in me - it was a steak knife, like a dinner steak knife.

"I can actually still see his face when he was doing it and the anger on it, and the blood was everywhere. I could hear air as well, which was very worrying to me.

"I didn't know exactly what he had done or if it was fatal. Was it only going to be a matter of minutes before I died?"

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

The couple were separated at the time, and Ms Tully said when he first turned up at the house, he punched her in the face and accused her of seeing someone else.

"He brought the boys over at one stage to say goodbye to me and he wouldn't let them hug me - I can remember the two of them standing there crying," she said.

McAuley then fell asleep because he had drank so much alcohol, she said.

Ms Tully, a secondary school teacher and former Sinn Féin councillor, had met McAuley while visiting him in prison where he was serving a 14-year sentence for the manslaughter in 1996 of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe during an armed raid on a post office van at Adare in County Limerick.

McAuley, who is originally from Strabane, County Tyrone, was released from jail in 2009 after serving 10 and a half years.

'Emotional abuse'

She described how he became increasingly abusive to her as he was drinking heavily.

Earlier in their marriage, she said he had tried to strangle her and hit her in a hotel room.

"Years ago, if somebody had said to me about being in a relationship where there was domestic violence, I would have said 'the first sight of it, I'll walk out the door', but you don't actually do that," she said.

"For a start, I thought, 'well he hasn't actually hit me, so therefore it's not domestic violence'.

"But I've learned since that even the threat of domestic violence, and even the verbal abuse, the emotional abuse, actually is domestic violence."

She added: "If you're in a situation where you're in fear of the person you're with, then there's something wrong."

McAuley, 50, with an address at Cavan Bank Walk, Ballyconnell, County Cavan, was sentenced to 12 years for the attack, with the last four suspended.

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