A 28-year-old man has gone on trial charged with allegedly threatening to kill a mother and her three children while holding the woman prisoner in her own home in Carrigaline, Co Cork.
Jamie McKenzie of Dun Eoin, Carrigaline, Co Cork has denied a charge of aggravated burglary at an estate in the town on March 28th, 2020.
The State alleges that he broke in to the property armed with a knife and stood over the bed of the female occupant threatening her as her three young children slept together in another room.
Mr McKenzie also pleaded not guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to threatening to kill the woman and her children and to a count of false imprisonment of the woman.
The woman told Judge Helen Boyle, and a jury of nine men and two women, that she was asleep on the morning of the March 28th 2020 when she was woken at 6am by Jamie McKenzie. She claims McKenzie was tapping her leg with a knife when she woke in her bedroom.
She said she knew of Mr McKenzie through his partner but had no friendship with him.
The woman told the court that Mr McKenzie threatened to kill her and her children.
“He said he would have no problem killing me and my family. He put the knife up to my cheek and face.”
The woman said she tried to stay calm and attempted to usher Mr McKenzie downstairs in order not to wake her children who were at that stage all under the age of ten.
She said “nobody expects to wake up to someone in their house” and that she was “confused as to why he (McKenzie) was there.”
“I didn’t understand who or what he was looking for. I tried to stay calm because I didn’t want to aggravate him. I didn’t want to wake the kids. The last thing I would want my kids to see is someone strange in the house that they didn’t know.”
The woman said she offered the man “tea or a fag (cigarette)” in a bid to calm him down. She claimed that at one point in the alleged two-hour incident Mr McKenzie pinned her up against the wall.
She admitted she was “terrified” for her safety. The alleged incident ended after 8am she claimed. She told Judge Boyle she then contacted a friend who came down to look after her children. She rang the gardai two hours later.
Under cross-examination by defence barrister, Seamus Roche, SC, the woman said that she had two dogs neither of whom were aggressive or reacted when Mr McKenzie allegedly broke in to her property.
She said that her children slept through the incident because a DVD was playing in their room when they were asleep. She stated that their cat had also had kittens that day.
Her kids were very excited and had all decided to sleep in the one room whereas they were normally in two.
The women alleged that Mr McKenzie entered her premises a handful of minutes after 6am and left around 8am. However, Mr Roche put it to her that CCTV from the defendant’s neighbour’s house captured him leaving his property at 6.11am and returning at 7.29am.
Mr Roche suggested that there were “significant discrepancies” in evidence. He said that a friend whom the woman contacted said that she was very calm in the aftermath of the incident which he said was surprising given that she alleges that she went through such a “horrendous experience.”
She said she was a “calm” person who was trying to do her best not to make the situation worse.
The woman refuted suggestions that she had ever given Mr McKenzie consent to enter her property. She said she “did not invite him in and did not ask him to threaten me.”
The case continues tomorrow and is expected to end this week.