A former lover caught on CCTV using a cordless power drill to severely damage her ex-fiance’s car, initially denied the offence and told police who found drill bits that she was building a bird table, a court has heard.
The details emerged at the County Court in Coleraine on Tuesday where Anna Maguire, also known locally as Mo, (56), of Glengorm Drive in the town, admitted her guilt but successfully appealed a suspended sentence for the offence.
Her defence lawyer, Aaron Thompson, argued, the suspended sentence would prevent the defendant being able to travel to New Zealand to visit her daughter.
The original five months jail term which had been suspended for three years was instead replaced with a Community Service Order which requires Maguire, a day care centre worker for people with learning disabilities, to do 120 hours of unpaid work.
A previous court heard Maguire used the drill to damage her former fiance’s car, before poisoning his plants and putting superglue in his house door lock.
That court was told Maguire caused such severe damage to the car it was deemed too dangerous to drive by insurers and had to be ‘written off’.
The injured party, Andy Farrer, claimed at an 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, had been with her for four years and was engaged to be married for two years.
Maguire struck at Mr Farrer’s Morrison Park home in Portrush last year.
Mr Farrer said Maguire also targeted a car belonging to his then new partner, who died last autumn.
At Tuesday’s court, prosecutor Breige Gilmore said Andy Farrer and Maguire had been in a relationship and after they had broken up in 2014 there was an incident in February, 2016, where a car belonging to Mr Farrer’s then partner, parked at his house, was covered in paint and other liquid.
CCTV was installed and on a later date the letterbox at Mr Farrer’s home was glued shut and the CCTV showed Maguire in a hoodie at the letter box at 4am.
On the afternoon of May 28 last year Mr Farrer and his partner returned home from a charity event and found the front door lock glued and there were numerous scratches and a flat tyre on his car.
The CCTV was scanned which, Ms Gilmore told the court, showed Maguire using a drill in the the area of the front bumper and at a flat tyre on his car.
When police spoke to Maguire they found Superglue and a cordless drill in her house along with drill bits in her car and she initially denied causing any damage and instead said she was making a bird table at work.
Previously in court Maguire 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 another charge of harassment but was convicted of the charges.
The harassment involved Maguire phoning and texting Mr Farrer which left him “distressed” in the months after his partner died in November 2016 at a time when police had already spoken to the defendant about the previous offences.
Mr Farrer 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.
Defence barrister Mr Thompson told Tuesday’s Court Maguire was a dedicated care worker and the incidents, which she now fully accepted, were “out of character” and she was ashamed.
Following the end of the relationship with Mr Farrer, Mr Thompson said Maguire “lost the run of herself” and “driven by emotion” she was always going to get caught as she had gone to her former partner’s house in broad daylight.
He claimed there had been “acrimony” in the break-up but said Maguire, who had a previously clear record, had not re-offended.
Mr Thompson said Maguire, whom he said now lives alone, is due to face a disciplinary hearing with her employers, a health trust, regarding her court appearance.
Judge Desmond Marrinan noted a “heartrending” statement from Mr Farrer and said the prolonged harassment from Maguire had been “extremely distressing”.
He said it was “very sad” to see someone with her background in court as she held an extremely responsible job caring for people with learning disabilities and her colleagues found her to be “warm and enthusiastic”.
The judge added: “I can only assume you lost the run of yourself and due to the emotions welling up inside you you behaved out of character, unfortunately for some period of time”.
He said although her behaviour had been “completely unacceptable” he accepted a suspended sentence would impact on her ability to visit her family member in New Zealand and instead gave her 120 hours Community Service.
He also affirmed £500 compensation being paid to Mr Farrer and said Maguire will have to serve two weeks in jail if she doesn’t pay it.
He also imposed a three-year Restraining Order banning her from contacting Mr Farrer or being in the vicinity of his home.