Man (28) charged over alleged threat to kill woman and children

James McKenzie stood over woman with knife in her Cork home, court told

The woman reported the matter to gardaí and identified James McKenzie to them as the intruder and he was later arrested in another house nearby wearing clothing and carrying the kitchen knife which she had identified to gardaí. File image: Frank Miller /	The Irish Times

The woman reported the matter to gardaí and identified James McKenzie to them as the intruder and he was later arrested in another house nearby wearing clothing and carrying the kitchen knife which she had identified to gardaí. File image: Frank Miller / The Irish Times

 

A 28-year-old man has been remanded in custody after he was charged in connection with an incident where he allegedly threatened to kill a mother and her three children while holding them prisoner for two hours in their home.

Jamie McKenzie of Dun Eoin, Carrigaline, Co Cork was brought before a special sitting of Cork District Court where he was charged with an aggravated burglary at Cedarwood Grove in Carrigaline on March 28th.

Det Garda Margaret Ryan of Douglas Garda Station gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution in relation to Mr McKenzie and said that gardaí were objecting to bail on a number of grounds.

These were because of the seriousness of the charge, which carried a maximum penalty on indictment of 14 years, and because gardaí feared he would commit further offences if granted bail.

She gave an outline of the alleged facts in the case to Judge John King, telling him that a woman woke up in the early hours of the morning at her home in Cedarwood, thinking one of her children had come into the room.

Instead, the State would allege that she found Mr McKenzie standing over her holding a kitchen knife and threatening to kill her and her three children who were aged nine, five and two and were in the house with her at the time.

The State would also alleged Mr McKenzie threatened to kill the woman’s ex-partner who was known to him and that the entire incident lasted two hours with Mr McKenzie only leaving after trashing downstairs with a hoover handle.

The woman reported the matter to gardaí and identified Mr McKenzie to them as the intruder and he was later arrested in another house nearby wearing clothing and carrying the kitchen knife which she had identified to gardaí.

Det Garda Ryan said that she believed the woman was in fear of her life given the threats that Mr McKenzie against her and her children but she was unable to come to court to testify to that effect because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

She could get no one to mind her three young children as her own parents were elderly and cocooned, her ex-partner was away and his parents were similarly cocooned and she could not leave her children unattended, she said.

“I believe this lady’s life and the lives of her children are in danger if this man is granted bail,” said Det Garda Ryan.

“On the night, he threatened he would kill her, her children and her ex- partner and he did that in her home.”

Cross-examined by Mr McKenzie’s solicitor, Frank Buttimer, Det Garda Ryan said she believed that Mr McKenzie was a cocaine addict and she didn’t believe that he would abide by any undertaking to refrain from taking any intoxicants.

Mr McKenzie took to the stand and promised he would abide by any bail terms imposed and he pledged he would not approach the woman or contact her by mobile phone. “There will be no problem with me if I get bail,” he said.

However, Judge John King said given the seriousness of the charge and the strength of the alleged evidence against him and the threats he had made and the possibility of danger to a person’s safety, he was refusing bail.

Insp Pat Murphy applied for a remand in custody until April 1st. Judge King remanded the accused to appear at Cork District Court on that date by video link and he also granted him free legal after hearing he was not working.