Sinead O’Neill on Six Weeks of Tremendous Controlling Relationship: ‘It was clear I wanted to leave him…he told me he slept in the shed’

A woman who was assaulted and coerced during a six-week relationship has said she is “relieved” that the affair is over, but has been left to deal with a lot of paranoia and fear.

Ined O’Neill said she will now rebuild her life with the help and support of family and friends.

Wexford’s Dean Ward (36) of Ballintalia, Holyfort, White, was tried earlier this year on four counts of assault, false imprisonment, threats of death, two counts of production of goods, three counts of rape was convicted. and coercive control of dates between June 11 and July 17, 2019.

The crimes took place over a period of six weeks between the woman meeting the man for the first time in May 2019 and her arrest by armed guards at her home in July 2019. He has been jailed for 17 years.

Ms O’Neill said she had doubts soon after meeting with Ward and told her she didn’t want to see him again.

He tried to cut off contact with her, but she panicked when he walked through her front door one morning.

“He just didn’t go, I met him on Friday and when Sunday came, I thought I had work in the morning, don’t you have work? And of course, he gave me a false name, he didn’t really work.” But he said that he worked at a construction site in Mullinger,” she said.

“He said at first that he couldn’t go back to the site because he had to take a secure pass course and after that he was on annual leave. It was quite clear that I wanted to leave him but I didn’t want to be rude.

“They said something about spending more time together getting to know each other and then they went on Wednesday to take the Safe Pass course on Thursday, and he messaged me on Thursday saying he would come back. Would like but he won’t come back for long.

“I was suspicious then, but when he came clean and said that he lied to me and that he was actually living in Dublin, which of course was another lie, but I told him I didn’t want him to come back. , and I put my phone on silent and it blows up my phone with text messages and calls.

“I closed it and went to sleep and the next morning I woke up and I was preparing myself upstairs and he walked in through the door, and I didn’t know what to make of it. That’s when he told me that He has slept in my shed.”

Ms O’Neill said Ward controlled her access to friends and family, handled her online banking, monitored her whereabouts and her mobile phone.

“He got into my social media accounts, and he deleted everything I had on my Facebook. I was so stuck, he was monitoring all my messages, he was tracking my phone. He could see them even before I could see them. He was tracking all my activities from the phone,” she told RTE’s Morning Ireland.

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Victim Sinead O’Neill speaks to the media outside the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court this afternoon. Photo: Collins Court

Ms O’Neill eventually sought the help of her boss, who continued to help the Donegal woman.

“I was just so embarrassed and ashamed that whatever she had done, I didn’t want anyone to know, and I convinced myself that I was strong enough and probably smart enough to get myself out of the situation.” It was too,” she said.

“I had an annual holiday coming up where I was going to go to Cork to meet my family, so I had convinced myself at that stage that all I had to do was go to Cork, meet my family, and I would I can find out from there.

“But things got very intense, very fast and there were so many threats to my life that one day at work I broke up to my boss and told him what was going on.

“She totally took the reins, I mean if it wasn’t for her, a lot of people should be credited for me being alive, but initially if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have been alive. kept telling me, ‘Synaid you won’t survive this, he will kill you.’

“But she kept pushing and thanked God.”

She praised the Gardai involved in her case, saying she struggled to understand the level of abuse she took once it was recorded on paper.

“The problem was that when I wrote my original statement, when I saw it all on paper, I got very upset because I was like that’s how I survived it,” she said.

“But also, there was this element of how one is going to believe in it. It happened to me and I’m reading this but there’s so much to take into it, it can’t be real.

Ms O’Neill urged other victims of domestic violence not to be ashamed or embarrassed and to seek help.

“I would say please reach out, when you are in that situation you feel there is no hope and there is such a terrible stigma attached to abuse, you should not be ashamed or ashamed, the person who is doing this to you should feel ashamed and Embarrassment,” she said.

“There is a lot of help out there and I think there is also a big deal, that is being taken seriously.

“I’m totally impressed with the messages I’ve received, just very kind and very helpful and I hope more women come forward.”

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