A man who smothered his girlfriend after she refused dinner, he… – Donegal Daily

A man who tried to choke his girlfriend after she refused to eat dinner he cooked for her has been jailed for a total of three years.

Stephen Coveney-Ryan turned on Roisin MacNeilis after she invited him to her home in Donegal Town after he became homeless after the couple met at Dublin’s Bus Aras a few weeks earlier.

He threatened to kill her and her family and “bury them in a shallow grave” after they exploded one day in a fit of rage.

Coveney Ryan, 26, appeared in Letterkenny Circuit Court where he pleaded guilty to threatening to kill Ms MacNeilis, assaulting her and producing a knife.

The couple had met a few weeks earlier on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2021, by chance at Dublin’s Bus Aras and stayed in touch via text. However, Coveney-Ryan called Ms MacNeilis one day and said he was homeless.

She invited him to stay with her at her home in Donegal Town and they started a relationship.

However, over the weeks, Ms MacNeilis claimed he had changed and had become aggressive and jealous.

On July 10, the accused finally broke down and attacked Ms. MacNeilis.

The court was told the defendant had cooked dinner, but Ms MacNeilis said she was not hungry but decided to eat a bowl of cereal instead.

He went for a walk and when he returned they first went to separate bedrooms, but Coveney Ryan then climbed into bed next to Mrs. MacNeilis and then began to attack her.

He put his elbow in her neck then put his hands around her neck and she struggled to breathe. Ms MacNeilis said she thought she was going to die at this point.

She managed to get to the front door but there were no keys and he followed her into the bathroom and started choking her again.

He constantly yelled at Ms MacNeilis who was eight weeks pregnant at this point. He told her that she was not fit to be a mother and that he was going to drown her and kill them both.

During the attack, he is also accused of making a fishing knife.

The torrent of abuse continued before she finally managed to jump out the window and he could only follow her a short distance as he was only wearing his boxer shorts.

She drove into the woods around Harvey’s Point around Donegal town and managed to charge her phone and she started getting threatening messages and calls.

In the calls, he said he was going to chop her up and feed her pigs and that he would also kill her parents and put them in the trunk of the car and then bury them in a shallow grave.

She told her parents about her ordeal and on July 12 she contacted Gardai when she was in a very distressed state and made a statement of complaint.

Coveney-Ryan, with an address in O’Clerigh Avenue, Donegal Town but originally from Co Tipperary, was arrested and taken to Ballyshannon Garda station for interview.

The court was told the defendant admitted to beating the victim, but suffered from mental health issues and disagreed with many of the allegations presented to him, including the choking of his victim.

However, he later admitted to the allegations and claimed he was ‘psychotic’ that night and could not believe he had said such things to Ms MacNeilis.

The court was told that the defendant was from Tipperary and had previously been charged with various incidents including burglary, theft, intoxication, breach of a restraining order, possession of drugs and use of threatening and abusive language.

His solicitor, Mr David Byrnes, said his client was much calmer thanks to the messages he left on his victim’s phone, saying he was also visibly upset when he heard the recordings again.

Mr Byrnes added that psychologist Dr Kevin Lambe interviewed his client and said he was a man who needed help guiding him through the psychotic episodes he was going through.

While on remand in prison, Coveney Ryan also completed a number of courses, including an ‘alternative to violence’ course and an Irish Red Cross course.

Mr Byrnes added that his client’s behavior was unacceptable and had no place in society, but asked Judge John Aylmer to work in rehabilitation and suggested that was the most appropriate direction.

Ms MacNeilis sat at the back of the courtroom breastfeeding the couple’s baby girl while a Garda read her victim impact statement in the silent court.

It told how she felt like she had gone from being the luckiest woman around to living in a horror show when she met Coveney Ryan.

She said how she spent time working with the homeless and couldn’t understand how Stephen treated her so badly when she took him in.

She added that she had hoped to spend the rest of her life with Stephen, but now wonders if it was all real and wonders if she will be able to trust anyone again.

Worryingly, she also admitted she fears for herself and her daughter when her ex-partner is released from prison.

In passing sentence, Judge John Aylmer said the fact that a knife was produced during the incident only added to the terror of the victim and he placed it in the middle bracket of these offenses meriting a sentence of five years in prison before mitgation.

By way of mitigation, he said he accepted his admission of guilt, guilty plea and remorse as genuine, noting that he had taken a number of courses in prison.

Judge Aylmer noted that Coveney Ryan had a difficult upbringing and was diagnosed with an emotionally unstable personality disorder.

Reflecting his guilty plea and remorse, Judge Aylmer said he was reducing the sentence to four years and also suspending the final 12 months of the sentence to aid his rehabilitation.

The sentence was also backdated to when Coveney Ryan was incarcerated, while Judge Aylmer also ordered the defendant to abstain from alcohol and drugs and to comply with the prison resettlement program .

Man who choked his girlfriend after she refused to eat the dinner he cooked is jailed was last modified: November 3, 2022 by Stephen Maguire

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