A brave Mum has revealed that even her eight year old daughters screams were not enough to save her from a vicious assault by her pensioner partner .
Kelda Jauvert,(44), spoke to Meath Live after her ex partner pensioner William Lapsley (75) appeared at Letterkenny District Court in Co Donegal charged with assaulting causing harm to her on September 2nd 2018.
Incredibly the first Kelda knew about that hearing was when a friend sent her a link to online coverage of it.
She recalled, ‘I came to Ireland in 1999 to work for William and we got into a relationship which was fine for a while but then after a number of incidents it turned sour.
‘I was working with his horses and in 2018 I travelled to France to sell a horse to Gael Jauvert and we began a long distance relationship.
‘On the Friday before I was attacked I had told William about this and basically went through a weekend of hell.
‘I am heavily involved in showjumping and we went to a couple of shows but there was a horrible atmosphere.
‘On the Sunday I was calling Gael in France and William heard me and came at me.
‘I managed to get out of the house but he caught me and punched me to the ground, I can remember hitting my head off concrete and trying my best to remain conscious.
‘William then booted me full in the face which smashed some teeth, he was also striking me with the handle of a yard brush, that is much harder than the handle of a normal brush.
‘My daughter who was eight at the time saw what was happening and began screaming in fear and Gael on the other end of the phone heard this and rang the guards.’
The court was told that on September 2nd, 2018, gardaí in Letterkenny Garda Station received a telephone call from a person in France.
The man alleged that he had been on the phone to a woman at Altaskin, St Johnston and that he suddenly heard a lot of screaming and shouting and that he was concerned for the woman’s safety.
Gardaí immediately called to the address given by the caller. When they arrived, they found William Lapsley in the backyard of the house.
He confirmed that he and his girlfriend, had been arguing. Gardaí then spoke to Ms Morgan and noticed she had a bruise on her eye.
She told gardaí that Lapsley had heard her on the phone and then punched her in the face and kicked her in the face after she fell to the ground before hitting her with a brush.
Kelda said, ‘The guards arrived and arrested him but I was scared he would come back and attack me again so I packed a few things and I remember clearly the next day I had just €83 in my purse so I filled the car with petrol and drove to my mothers house in Sligo.
‘It was not the first time he lost his temper, using violence and threats towards me.
‘Friends have asked me why I didn’t leave previously and I cannot explain why except to say it was too hard to leave as he knew how much horses and my security meant to me.
‘Plus, he threatened me saying I could never live in Ireland if I left.
It took almost five years before the case came to court and it left Kelda, who is originally from Coventry, wondering about how justice is administered here.
‘First of all the guards have been brilliant throughout this whole ordeal, I always felt I had to prove I wasn’t in the wrong.
‘I was constantly looking for information about the case. I had to keep calling Letterkenny Garda station which I was uncomfortable with as I know how busy they are, and in the end justice was served, but as far as I could see the defence solicitors were running the show.
‘They objected to some stuff in my victim impact statement, I wrote that in 2021, and while I understand the judge read it I was hoping it would be read out in open court so everyone could see how it affected me and my daughter.
‘It appears they even tried to suggest Williams reaction to me telling him it was over was understandable!
‘I didn’t even know the case was on last week I only discovered what had happened when a friend told me.
‘I know William pleaded guilty but I would have liked to have the opportunity to speak to the judge.
‘I’ve since married Gael and run my own stables near Drumconrath in Meath, my daughter has come through the whole ordeal quite well so we’ve moved on and are happy.
‘I’m going public to let others in a similar situation know that things will get better and help is available.
In court Garda Sergeant Gerard Dalton gave a background to the case.
He told the court that Ms Morgan had previously gone to France to sell a horse to a man and ended up having an affair with him but had told Lapsley that it had ended.
On the day in question, Sergeant Dalton said it appeared that Ms Morgan had been on the phone to the man she had had an affair with and that Lapsley had overheard them chatting.
Both a medical report, a victim impact statement and a probation report was handed in to Judge Eiteain to consider.
Solicitor for the accused, Mr Donough Cleary said his client had pleaded guilty to a Section 3 assault and that the relationship between Lapsley and Ms Morgan was now at an end and that Ms Morgan had actually married the French man she was having an affair with.
He said his client had no previous convictions and that he was not suitable to take part in the Men Overcoming Violent Emotions programme in Sligo because of Covid and his age and said the Probation Services said they had accepted the complainant’s complaint.
Judge Cunningham said the report is not positive overall, saying there were significant issues with his insight and engagement and acknowledgement in taking steps to improve the situation.
Mr Cleary said his client had accepted that it was not his “finest hour” but that there have been no difficulties since and suggested, because of his client’s age, the reality of any further risk is remote.
He added that his client’s reaction having been told by his partner that the other relationship was over was understandable.
However, Judge Cunningham said the reaction was not understandable and that, in her view, it was not in any way acceptable to “resort to physical violence”.
Passing sentence, Judge Cunningham said the court noted a plea had been tendered, and she also noted the Probation Service’s report had not been favourable.
She added that taking all the factors into account, she said this was a serious assault which she placed at the upper end of the jurisdiction of the district court and one which warranted a custodial sentence.
She sentenced Lapsley to six months in prison but suspended the entire sentence for a period of 12 months.