Apr 2, 2009

"Provoked beyond reason"

David Bourke stabbed his wife to death in front of their children. The Irish Times covers it here.

A MAN who stabbed his wife to death in front of their three children has been given a life sentence for murder.

David Bourke (49) admitted stabbing Jean Gilbert (45) to death in front of their three children at the family home in Laverna Dale, Castleknock, Co Dublin, on August 28th, 2007, but denied murdering her.

He claimed to have been provoked beyond reason by his wife’s affair with English-born musician Robert Campion who had re-entered his wife’s life four months previously.

She had told Bourke that she was going to leave him.

The “last straw” had been the meal that Ms Gilbert had with Mr Campion at the family home two days before she died.

"Provoked beyond reason"? There is nothing provocative about a marriage ending. In Europe, one in every two couples divorces on average. Leaving a partner is a mundane and common, if sad, occurrence. He was not "provoked beyond reason". He chose to murder her. He chose to stab her in front of their children. This is gender based violence. Bourke stabbed his wife because he was angry. He murdered her for leaving him. He murdered her because he could.

Being born a woman is the single biggest risk of violence. Trigger warning on vids.

And for all those who would deny it, yes it happens in Ireland too.

Ireland - In Making the Links (1995), the first ever national research into the prevalence of domestic violence in Ireland, 18% of Irish Women reported they had been abused in relationships with male partners.

Ireland- Since the beginning of 1996, 134 women have been murdered in Ireland. Of those 84 were killed in their own homes. Of the cases which have been resolved, in just under half (49% of the cases, the murder was committed by a partner or ex-partner.

Ireland- In 1999, two out of three women who sought refuge accommodation were refused (1104 women were refused refuge accommodation in the Eastern Regional Health Authority area and 609 women were accommodated - Kelleher 2001)

Ireland- In 2006, 3,132 barring orders were applied for and 1,357 were granted. In the same year 1,221 Safety Orders were granted, 99 were refused and 1,726 struck out/withdrawn. 2,845 protection orders were granted whilst 99 were refused and 193 struck out/withdrawn. (The Courts Services Annual Report, 2006)

Ireland- 4 out of 10 women who had been involved in a sexual relationship with a man experienced violence (Reported frequency of domestic violence; cross sectional survey of women attending general practice, February 20002)

Ireland - Safety and Sanctions, research conducted by Women's Aid into domestic violence and the enforcement of law in Ireland in 1999, showed that children were present in the house or witnessed the violence in a significant amount of cases.

Ireland - A study conducted by the Rotunda Maternity Hospital found that in a sample of 400 pregnant women, 12.5% had experienced abuse while they were pregnant

I'm not denying the existence of violence against men by women but studies have shown that women are seven times more likely to need medical care afterward. Gilbert did not survive the domestic violence Bourke subjected her to.

Bourke was found guilty of murder. It was not a crime of passion. There was no provocation. It was premeditated.

In her closing statement, prosecuting counsel Isobel Kennedy argued that in order for a defense of provocation, there had to be a total loss of self-control. Mr Bourke had known for 10 weeks before Ms Gilbert's death that his wife was going to leave him, she said. He had told gardai that he had wanted to hurt her as she had hurt him, and had sent a text to a colleague on the night before her death saying that he hated her and would have killed her had he not left the house.

It is disgusting that this defense was even considered. It's classic blame-the-victim. Bourke's defense boils down to "she made me do it" and "she was asking for it". Gilbert did not make Bourke stab her four times in front of their children. Gilbert did not ask to be murdered. Gilbert did not ask for her children to be traumatised.

Bourke tried to cowardly free himself from the responsibility of his actions. But the jury has spoken. I'm sure Gilbert didn't ask for Bourke to spend his life in prison either. He has committed murder. It's his responsibility. Gilbert is the victim. Bourke was not "provoked beyond reason".

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