False imprisonment criminal definition

–Irish Statute Book
Non–Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997, §15, False Imprisonment


[Editor's note: Ethan Maxwell's actions of December 27th, 2009 easily fulfil the definition of this crime. We note also that as an indictable offence, False Imprisonment has no Statute of Limitations. ]

In the aftermath of the troubling events of A Christmas Story, and Saoirse's conversation with her mother on January 2, Saoirse continued to seek information she thought would be helpful to Geoffrey Blair, the HSE Elder Abuse caseworker, who was due to return from holiday on January 6.

Although Dolores, in the very carefully orchestrated phone call arranged by Ethan attempted to explain her disappearance on December 27th as a mix–up, the truth was obvious. In Sophie's account of her conversation with Ethan, it is apparent that she believed Dolores was prevented from seeing her family by Ethan; she also reports Ethan admitting that he prevented the meeting in order to “annoy” his siblings. Duane Matthews of course, when he tried to call Dolores when she did not appear at the Ramada, was subjected to Ethan's taunts and self-congratulatory comments about how he had prevented Dolores from seeing her family. Dolores' other children received varying accounts from Dolores of what happened that day.

Alex, who had come to Ireland with his family for the holidays, was of course once again prevented from seeing his mother. He had last seen her at Cecil's funeral, nearly two years before. Sophie had arranged with Ethan to allow Dolores to see Alex and his family. This never took place. His account of a phone call with Dolores shortly after this follows:

Dolores Maxwell painting. Image from a private collection, used by permission. “The call with mam did not go particularly well. While recognizing Ethan's tantrum prior to the meeting, which had caught her by surprise, she did not appear to recall the compromise meeting point of the Ramada at 1:30pm and concluded that it was all a sorry mix up. I pressed her a little on whether Ethan's outburst may have caused the memory loss! I repeatedly tried to probe on whether she considered the behaviour normal and asked how she would feel if her mother did not meet her after travelling such a distance, and doing such trips on an infrequent basis. All I got was that [my in-laws] were also around and why couldn't I have rescheduled to meet up with her and Ronan.
The mobile was ringing a lot of course, while I was on and she continuously turned her attention to it, which caused a lot of background beeping. I basically concluded the call with, she has my number if she ever needs to reach me.”

[Editor's note: We note the monitoring of Dolores' calls once again. Alex was also one of Dolores' children who received Christmas cards from “Dolores” that obviously weren't from her, and touches on this:

“…Xmas card that arrived upon our return to [country redacted]. Typically, I'm lucky if I get one card from mam, but this year I got two - the authentic one that came before Xmas and the forgery that came after! I know it's a forgery, because it's addressed to [a name that Dolores never used for Alex; in addition it was misspelled!] and [Alex's wife's name, also misspelled]…”

At least three of Dolores' children received cards purportedly from her that obviously weren't written by her. It is believed that Ethan forbade her to send out cards, and forged them himself. Evidence also supports the belief that by this time Dolores did not have access to her money, and yet she did find a way to send some cards. Perhaps she was able to use money from an account Ethan wasn't aware of. She did have an old account using her first name, Ann Maxwell, that Ethan seems to have overlooked. ]

Elder Abuse graphic

Nathaniel was also able to reach Dolores before Geoffrey Blair's return, and asked her about December 27:

“I keep getting this one about not being able to make a trip to [place redacted; considerably closer to Dolores than Dublin]. However Mam seems to have no trouble at all in getting the train to Dublin. It doesn't add up here. She did talk though some time back about coming over for Easter!

I also asked about the Sunday in Dublin, didn't get this one about a mix up. That's a different story to what I was told. However she told me Ethan stopped her going.

I also was getting very indifferent responses about the anniversary mass of even where she would be. I don't think she is free to make up her mind on that, looks like its being dictated to her.”

[Editor's note: The “Anniversary Mass” is referring to the two year anniversary of Dolores' husband Cecil passing away. The mass was never held, and in fact Dolores was unreachable by her family during that time, as Ethan cut her off from even talking to her children to mark the passing of her husband and their father, let alone derive comfort from seeing them. ]

In another email to Saoirse, Nathaniel elaborates:

“As for the compromise meeting she told me Ethan stopped the meeting. I asked what about all of us, she had a phone and could have rung any of us. I honestly thought the treatment of us all was very shabby considering that we all made the effort to be there.

I have the same problem when I ring, the mobile keeps ringing and ringing and ringing and can hear unpleasant voices when she answers it.”

[Editor's note: We note once again Dolores not being able to answer her phone without monitoring or interference. Dolores did not treat anyone “shabbily” in our view (and some of the members of were at the Royal Marine that day). Dolores had no free choice at all; she had no access to her phone at all. We consider that to be undeniable. ]

Nathaniel and Saoirse both spoke to Ronan about the events, their conversations with him are seen here in a text exchange on December 31st:

From Nathaniel:
“I had a chat with Ronan. He couldnt do anything. I think he needs a bit of support from us.”

Saoirse replies:
“Just chatted with him this morning. He says Ethan is due to Rosslare this weekend. yes, I think anything we can do to let him know we're in his corner would be good. He said something needs to be done that this isn't the first time Ethan has done this. He isn't sure how Ethan accomplished it. but says a solitors letter needs to be sent. I think something far more reaching etc. so am continuing on my journey. Will keep you all updated.

And watch what you say to Sophie. Because I'm sure it's going back to Ethan.”

Saoirse's notes of her conversation report Ronan saying that “Nuisance”, as he referred to Ethan, was coming to Rosslare for the weekend. Concerning the failed meeting Ronan said,
“…he made it his job to make sure that didn't happen. That's not the first time that's happened. He needs a solicitor's letter, I mean, that kind of behaviour is out of tune. ”

Sean was to the point in his assessment:

“In relation to a mix up - there was none!
He scuppered Christmas and he will do the same at Easter!”

Sean was right. Ethan would not allow Dolores to see her family at Easter, either.


[Editor's note: Although there was agreement that Ethan was responsible for Dolores not seeing her family, there was still a feeling from some of her sons that she was to blame. Yes, they were there, they had heard Ethan's laughter on the phone to Duane Matthews, had seen or heard about Ethan's bizarre Christmas Note, had tried to reach Dolores through her phone, only to have it answered by someone else. They had experienced many times how difficult it was for Dolores to speak to them on the phone without her calls being monitored. They had heard of and/or seen the violence done to their parents by Ethan. They had seen their parents forced to give Ethan hundreds of thousands of euros. They were on the receiving end of Ethan's threats themselves. Yet, somehow Dolores was blamed for this. We remain baffled.

Silence hurts. APAV - Portuguese Association for Victim Support Photographers: Filipe Rebelo, Máquina Invisível

As always, we seek and encourage anyone with knowledge of Dolores' life and/or the events presented here to contribute to this site. Memories, anecdotes, photos and documents are more than welcome. Clarification or alternative views are encouraged and welcomed. Submissions ]

Although Sophie seemed to indicate she had sorted things out after laying down the law to Ethan on December 29th, the exact opposite was true. The next day Ethan was busy planning and consolidating his isolation and control of Dolores on four fronts. He would instruct Dolores' solicitor to issue letters to certain of Dolores' children, he would write a letter in Dolores' name to Elder Abuse to push them away, would write The Taxi Letter to support his lies about Saoirse's visit with Dolores on December 3rd, and he would arrange Dolores' call to Saoirse on January 2 to try to get Saoirse to relieve the pressure on him. It seems the tears he had shed for Sophie's consumption were meaningless, after all.

[Editor's note: Ethan's efforts regarding Dolores' solicitor Damian Brass will be the subject of the next part of A Winter's Tale. The Solicitor's Letter. ]


World Elder Abuse Awareness Day UN Declaration of Human Rights European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity Towards a Society for All Ages