IRA killer's wife tells of years of domestic abuse
The estranged wife of IRA killer Pearse McAuley has spoken out about how she was subjected to years of abuse that ended with the republican stabbing her 13 times with a steak knife.
In an interview with RTE, Pauline Tully spoke publicly for the first time about the domestic violence dealt out to her by one of the killers of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe.
The former Sinn Fein councillor told Marian Finucane how McAuley (50), originally from Strabane, was in prison when the pair first met. He was serving a 14-year sentence for the 1996 manslaughter of Mr McCabe during a raid on a post office van in Limerick.
She said: "He was very good company and we seemed to get on well together." I was in Sinn Fein and I was brought up in a republican family, I would've known couples who met, some of them before one of them had endured a prison term, so it wasn't abnormal for me.
"I suppose looking back hindsight is brilliant. It's not a real snapshot of life; you don't get a real sense of it, you're not living with someone properly to know what they're really like."
Last week McAuley was sentenced to 12 years in prison, with four suspended, for assault causing serious harm to Ms Tully last Christmas Eve.
Ms Tully described how she thought she was going to die when McAuley stabbed her in front of their children in their Co Cavan home.
"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.
Ms Tully described McAuley as an alcoholic who became more abusive as he drank.
"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 said.
The secondary school teacher added: "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."
She said that in the past McAuley had also tried to strangle her.
Asked what she expected in joining a very violent man in marriage, Ms Tully said: "I've known people involved in the conflict all my life... just because they're involved in a war situation doesn't mean that they're on a personal level violent."