A court has heard about how a serving member of An Garda Síochána coercively controlled his girlfriend.

The Garda – who cannot be named for legal reasons – put the victim through three and a half years of what was described as “physical and emotional torture.”

In 2017, at the beginning of their relationship, she said things were great. She described him as the perfect gentleman; charming and very funny.

However, the fairytale start soon turned into a nightmare.

During the investigation, thousands and thousands of abusive texts, WhatsApp messages, videos, photos and voice notes were found on his phone.

80% of the communications were from him to her. On one date in July 2019, he bombarded her with 587 messages. She received one every 90 seconds for 14.5 hours.

His desire for her to suffer a painful death was a recurring theme in his communications and he also targeted her loved ones in an effort to isolate her.

In her victim impact statement, she said she often wondered how women ended up in violent and abusive relations but now knows they don’t have a choice. She said the abuser breaks you down and takes away all your power and strength.

However, she said she feels stronger now and hopes her story of survival will inspire others.

The sentence hearing will resume tomorrow.