Hell hath no fury: Northern Ireland woman wrecked ex's car in campaign of harassment
A woman who used a drill to damage her former fiance's car, before poisoning his plants and putting superglue in his house door lock, has avoided jail.
A judge told Anna Maguire (56), a health worker, of Glengorm Avenue, Coleraine, her actions were "appalling" but because of her clear record and the fact there had been no repeat of the trouble he was suspending a five-month sentence for three years.
At Coleraine Magistrates Court on Friday, District Judge Liam McNally also ordered Maguire to pay an extra £500 compensation for "anguish and hurt" caused to her former partner, Andy Farrer, and she was also hit with a three-year Restraining Order.
A previous hearing heard Maguire arrived with a drill and caused such severe damage to the car it was deemed too dangerous to drive by insurers and had to be 'written off'.
Maguire carried out a campaign of harassment against Mr Farrer, from Portrush, and also superglued locks at his home and poisoned plants in his garden.
Maguire struck at Mr Farrer's Morrison Park home twice within five days in May last year.
CCTV cameras at Mr Farrer's home snared Maguire entering his property, once in the middle of the night as he slept inside, and also in daylight when he was out at a charity event.
Mr Farrer claimed at the earlier court the campaign of harassment erupted after he ended his relationship with Maguire because she had an "affair".
He had known her for eight years, been with her for four years and was engaged to be married for two years.
Mr Farrer told the court that Maguire had also targeted a car belonging to his then new partner, who has since died.
Maguire previously admitted causing criminal damage to Mr Farrer's Peugeot 307, a house door lock and plants and also pleaded guilty to a harassment charge.
She contested other charges of damaging a Peugeot 107 belonging to Mr Farrer's then partner and damaging his letterbox as well as a charge of harassment relating to May last year but last month was convicted of the charges by District Judge Liam McNally.
At Friday's court a prosecutor said at the end of 2016 and into the start of this year Mr Farrer had received messages from Maguire which he found distressing as his partner had recently died and he told the defendant he did not want any contact with her.
Mr Farrer then received phone calls with the number withheld in the middle of the night and when he answered the line went quiet but they were traced to Maguire.
Mr Farrer was not present at Friday's court where Maguire was being sentenced.
Defence solicitor Garrett Greene handed in four letters or reference for his client. He said Maguire had a clear record and was an upstanding member of the community with 26 years of positive public service work behind her.
Mr Greene said the positive references showed the incidents were "out of character".
He said there were mention in a pre-sentence report to "some matters" in the background but he said they did not offer an excuse for what the defendant did to Mr Farrer.
He said Maguire was remorseful and had already paid £300 to Mr Farrer to pay for his car insurance excess.
Mr Greene said the defendant's relationship with Mr Farrer had "ended in difficult circumstances".
Mr Greene said following the death of Mr Farrer's then partner, Maguire had sent messages to Mr Farrer which were not of a harassing nature but which had wished him a Happy New Year and then asked him if he wished to talk or go for a coffee to talk about his "distressing news".
The solicitor said the conviction could create travel difficulties for Maguire, who was previously married, going overseas to see her children.
Mr Greene said publicity surrounding the case had caused her considerable distress and she had needed counselling.
He said Maguire had stained her reputation but would not be back before a court.
Judge McNally told the defendant that on the one hand she was harassing Mr Farrer and "going out in the dead of night" to target him.
He said she had "armed" herself with a drill and and also used glue and damage was caused to his property, his vehicle and his partner's vehicle and then she had made denials in court but was found guilty.
The judge was told Maguire now accepts her guilt and he said the serious matters deserved five months in jail.
He said he could not give her any credit for a full plea but did acknowledge her clear record.
"At the age of 56 you find yourself behaving in this appalling manner," said Judge McNally.
He said Maguire was a day worker with the Northern Health Trust and had been working with adults with learning disabilities and the elderly which he said was contrary to the Maguire he witnessed when he viewed the CCTV in court last month.
As there had been no further trouble he told Maguire he was suspending the sentence for three years but ordered her to pay an extra £500 compensation on top of the £300 she had already paid to Mr Farrer.
Belfast Telegraph Digital