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Ex-garda jailed for six years for ‘reprehensible’ abuse

A 38-year-old former garda who severely beat and verbally abused his wife and her two children over a 12-year period has been jailed for six years.

Mark Doyle pleaded guilty to six charges of assault causing harm to his former wife and two step children between 2008 and 2019 while he was a serving garda.

Maeve Doyle described her former husband outwardly as “a respected member of the community but a monster in our home”.

Judge Martin Nolan described his behaviour as “reprehensible” and said he could not control his temper and should go to jail.

Doyle subjected his wife and family to a litany of abuse over 12 years.

He was a garda who served in Cabra, Blanchardstown and Ronanstown in Dublin before he was suspended and ultimately resigned.

Doyle admitted on various occasions to punching his wife on the side of the head, perforating her eardrum, whipping her with his jacket and cutting her with a zip, throwing a chair at her, slapping her, kicking her with boots as she lay on the ground, grabbing her by the hair and marching her down the hallway and choking her.

He also attacked her while she was pregnant.

Doyle also blamed her several times for his violence saying to her “see what you made me do, you just won’t stop”.

He also hit his step children who are now adults.

On one occasion he laughed after he fired a pellet into one of the children and removed it with a tweezer.

Doyle shouted at the children, twisted their nipples and banged one child’s head off the table as he was doing his homework.

He made abusive comments to his wife and the children and called them names including “dope”, “retard” and “fat c***”.

When one of the children asked him why he was so nasty to their mother, he slapped him in the face.

Mark Doyle leaving court last year

The Garda National Protective Services Bureau started a criminal investigation and Doyle was arrested by appointment on 7 December 2020.

He denied many of the allegations saying they were not true and told the detectives he did not trust the gardaí, “everything was twisted”.

He also told them he had been experiencing abuse and controlling behaviour for years but did not want to deal with it then.

In her victim impact statement Maeve Doyle spoke about how as a garda he was a respected member of the community, but a monster at home.

There was not one room in the house where an incident did not take place and every occasion, Christmas, Confirmation and Communion was ruined by his violence.

Maeve Doyle said she was an independent, confident, ambitious 26-year-old woman when she met Doyle but he left her “a shell of herself,” who “couldn’t concentrate” and was “constantly unwell”.

She told how when the school once became concerned by something a child had disclosed, Doyle turned up to a school meeting in a garda car in his full garda uniform.

Judge Nolan said the principal person he assaulted was his partner and wife along with her two sons over a long period involving punching, hair pulling, choking, kicking, throwing articles and attacking the boys.

It was, he said, “reprehensible behaviour, a pattern of violence towards his partner and then his wife”.

“He couldn’t control his temper and blamed his wife for his own bad behaviour,” Judge Nolan said.

“Obviously Maeve Doyle was traumatised,” he said and it was “noteworthy the assaults took place in front of children and that he was a member of Defence Forces and then An Garda Síochána”.

The judge said that Doyle, who is originally from Carlow, seems to have had a father who had problems with alcohol but “nonetheless I’ve no doubt he did well in life and moved on”.

“He behaved in a very very aggressive and violent fashion,” the judge said, and his wife and her children’s home was “obviously an oppressive house to live in and Maeve Doyle bears the scars but thankfully she has gone on to do well”.

He also said that while Doyle had pleaded guilty, expressed remorse, can change his life and is in another relationship, which seems to be going well on the basis of the references that have been handed in, “undoubtedly by his prolonged behaviour he deserves a long custodial term”.

He set a headline sentence at 10 years but taking mitigating factors into account he sentenced him to six years in prison.

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