'I will light a candle for your family to die', driver told garda in 'curse'
A judge yesterday jailed a man who told a garda he would have a "widow's curse" put on her after she stopped him on the road last May.
At Ennis District Court, Judge Patrick Durcan jailed Martin Joyce (28) for eight months after saying that the Ennis man said he would impose a "lurid curse" on Garda Elizabeth McDonagh on May 18 last year.
He said Joyce, of St Enda's, Beechpark, Ennis, had issued a "torrent of abuse" that was "truly chilling".
"When the abuse wasn't having an effect from Joyce's point of view, Joyce in great detail imposed a curse on Gda McDonagh," he said. "Most people would be upset by the curse of the lurid, vivid and appalling nature that was uttered."
In response to the judge asking "Tell me about this curse?", Gda McDonagh said: "Joyce told me 'I am putting a curse on you. I will light a candle that your family will die and you will suffer grief in the next 12 months. When it happens, I will take pictures and send them to you and put them up for everyone to see. You will see within 12 months that your family or someone belonging to you will be dead. I am going to light a candle to give you the curse and I will get my mother to give you the widow's curse and they will all be dying belonged to you'."
Asked if she was upset, she said: "This has never been said to me before."
"As far I am concerned, this puts this case into a category of its own as regards the level of seriousness," said the judge.
"There are many people who dismiss that type of behaviour as falling into the realm of the piseog and the world of the past but there are many, many people who become gravely upset when something like that happens," he said.
Joyce got five months for obstructing a garda plus three months for driving without insurance on May 18 last year and 10 weeks to run concurrently for the verbal abuse.
The court heard Joyce has 68 previous convictions, including 45 traffic offences, as well as two for violent disorder, one for assault and eight for theft.
Tara Godfrey, defending, said that she had been instructed by her client, a settled Traveller, to apologise to Gda McDonagh directly.
"Mr Joyce had been taking drugs his entire life practically and suffering depressive symptoms and he had been successful at coming off the drugs around the time of this incident, but the mental fallout was huge," Ms Godfrey said.
"Mr Joyce said that he was having a complete mental breakdown at the time and this doesn't excuse what he said and he apologises for it."
Ms Godfrey said Joyce had suffered family tragedy with his father killing himself and his brother murdered in 2016.