‘Crime of passion’ leads to prison term

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A Buncrana man, who threatened to kill his partner’s ex has been sentenced to six months imprisonment for his “crime of passion.”

John Fullerton, with an address at 2, Park Lane, Buncrana, appeared at Buncrana District Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to threatening to kill and cause serious harm to Derek Murphy at Burwood, Magherinture, Buncrana on 11th, September, 2012.

Defence solicitor Rory O’Brien had previously argued that Fullerton, who is currently serving a prison sentence in Castlerea, had been “compromised” in relation to the delay in prosecution and on the serving of court summons upon him.

However, Judge Paul Kelly ruled he had not, stating the summons had been served on the 35-year-old less than two years after the date of the offence.

Garda Robyn Hennigan told the court that on September 11th, 2012, Mr Murphy called to Buncrana Garda Station.

He reported that Fullerton had called to his home earlier that morning and threatened to kill him and cause serious harm to him.

Fullerton was arrested and made admissions under interview, Gda Hennigan said there were “ongoing difficulties” between the men in relation to Fullerton’s partner, who Mr Murphy used to go out with.

Mr O’Brien said Fullerton believed he was coming to the aid of his girlfriend in respect of an issue between her and Mr Murphy.

Gda Hennigan said Fullerton said he was acting on behalf of hid girlfriend, as he believed Mr Murphy had been causing her difficulties and had been drunk on the night in question.

He added how both men were “known to each other.”

Fullerton has 10 previous convictions, including theft, for which he received community service in 2012; criminal damage, arson, for which he was sentenced to five years imprisonment, with 18 months suspended and criminal damage, for which he was sentenced to three years imprisonment, both in May 2014.

Mr O’Brien said his client was due for release from prison in January 2017 and added the incident was a “crime of passion to some degree” and issues of jealousy arose.

He added that on the night in question, words were spoken but nothing physical occurred.

Mr O’Brien said alcohol has been a feature of Fullerton’s past and his previous partner died from liver failure.

Mr O’Brien said Fullerton had “worked very hard” in prison and was “availing of very resource.”

He said it was the view of Castlerea prison that Fullerton should be released to the minimum security Loughan House, which was being delayed pending the hearing in relation to this charge.

Previously, Mr O’Brien said the delay in the serving of the summons in relation to the charge has also delayed Fullerton’s move to Loughan House, stating Gardai had opportunity to serve it upon him when he was living in Ballyshannon as he had to sign on at the Garda station there. He argued his client had been prejudiced by the delay.

However, the court heard Gardai had attempted to serve it upon him on a number of occasions in Ballyshannon. Fullerton had then moved to Buncrana and the summons was reissued.

Judge Kelly sentenced Fullerton to six months imprisonment, to run concurrently with his current sentence.