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Man jailed for harassment and threats to former partner

By Sonya McLean and Brion Hoban

A man who harassed his former partner by calling her up to 100 times a day and threatening to throw acid in her face and “kick your baby out of you” has been jailed for five-and-a-half years.

Karl Fields (26) had been in a relationship with the woman and had a young child with her but he took issue with her new relationship which the court heard was the motivation behind his threats.

The woman was in her local garda station making a complaint about the threatening calls when Fields phoned her.

The investigating garda told the woman to answer the call and put Fields on speaker allowing the officer to hear him shouting that he would “put five petrol bombs through your Mam’s gaff now”.

Garda Jennifer Keegan told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, that during other calls Fields called the woman “a mad rat” and threatened to butcher her.

He said he hoped she, her mother and her partner died and he hoped “all your kids are handicapped”.

The woman was pregnant at the time and Fields at one point said he “would boot the baby out of you” and at other times threatened to cut her throat multiple times and throw acid in her face.

Gda Keegan said the woman eventually took a protection order out against Fields and he was arrested and charged in April 2020.

The following November Fields called at the woman’s home stood by the railings of her front garden and threatened to “burn your house to the ground” if she didn’t withdraw her earlier statement to the gardaí.

He had earlier sent the woman a text saying: “I swear to God you and your Mam back track or you will see” before he called them “a rat”.

Fields of Collins Place, Finglas West, Dublin 11 pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to harassment, threat to kill and contravention of a protection order on April 9, 2020.

He also admitted an additional threat to kill, threatening a witness and another contravention of a protection order on November 21, 2020.

Fields has 184 previous convictions relating to breaches of an order, criminal damage, trespass, road traffic offences, burglary, theft and drug offences.

Judge Melanie Greally suspended the final two-and-a-half years of an operative eight year prison term.

The woman later told the gardaí that her children had been in her home at the time of Fields calling to the house and she was concerned he would come back and carrying out the threats.

That night he continued to call the woman saying that he would “do time” over her and he was going to end her life and her partner’s life, calling her “a little snitch”.

Gardaí arrested Fields that night after they found him hiding in a wardrobe in his home.

An empty jerry can was found in his car.

He made no comment during the subsequent interview with gardaí and has been in custody since.

Mr Collins read the woman’s victim impact statement into the record stating that she moved out of her mother’s home because of Fields earlier harassment.

She said her situation would be “very different” were it not for Fields but she hoped prison will do him some good and give him time “to sort his head out”.

She said Fields put “a lot of fear on me and my family”.

She said she still wanted him to have a relationship with his daughter but she added “he is not in the right frame of mind at the moment”.

Rebecca Smith BL defending said her client had “an exceptionally difficult upbringing”.

She said his parents were “chronic drug addicts” with whom he had no contact as a child and he was raised by his grandparents.

Counsel said her client was diagnosed with behavioural problems and began drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis.

He was placed in care at the age of 14 and at 18 he “essentially went onto the streets”.

Ms Smith said he reconnected with his mother when he was aged 19, but she died of an overdose in 2014.

She said his grandparents are still alive, but are unable to visit him in prison due to the restrictions.

Counsel said her client was not aware that there was a jerry can and a lighter in the boot of the car and that there was no petrol in the jerry can.

She said her client has two children, including the child of the victim in this case.

Judge Greally imposed a three year prison term for the threat to kill in April 2020.

She ordered that this sentence run consecutive to a sentence he is currently serving.

She additionally imposed five years imprisonment for the threats in November 2020 and ordered that this run from the lawful termination of the previous sentence.

Judge Greally then suspended the final two-and-a-half years of the latter sentence for an effective sentence of eight years imprisonment with the final two-and-a-half years suspended.

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