Intellectually disadvantaged woman subjected to violent assault at party

Published 29/01/2016 | 00:00

Judge's gavel
Judge's gavel

A man who was having a relationship with a slightly intellectually disadvantaged woman and flew into a fit of rage and assaulted her when he discovered the victim was married, has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Judge Barry Hickson described the assault as 'outrageous' where not only did the defendant punch her, but stamped on her and tried to smother her.

Judge Barry Hickson was passing sentence at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court in the case of Laurence Elmore, of 48 Abbeyley Avenue, Swords, Dublin, who had pleaded guilty to assaulting the victim at a house in Cluain Dara, Enniscorthy in August 2014.

Prosecuting Sgt Rory Sheriff told the court that the victim presented herself to Wexford Garda Station with a number of injuries. She made a complaint of having been assaulted between Friday, August 8, 2014, and August 9, 2014, at a house in Cluain Dara, Enniscorthy while attending a party.

Sgt Sheriff told Prosecuting Counsel Sinead Gleeson that the victim was assaulted by the defendant in the bedroom of the house.

The defendant punched the victim a number of times in the face and head, while he also stamped on her head. He also attempted to strangle her and attempted to smother her by putting a pillow over her face.

The defendant's brother, who was also at the party, heard the victim's cries for help and ran to the bedroom where he stopped the assault. The victim, said Sgt Sheriff, would be of special needs.

During her interview at Wexford Garda Station, the victim told of having blood on her face.

Having stayed at the house overnight, she got a taxi home the following morning. When her family saw the state she was in, they brought her to Wexford Garda Station.

The victim, said Sgt Sheriff, suffered an upper lip laceration, perforated ear drum, bruising around her right eye and cheek and bruising around her neck. Her injuries required her to stay in hospital overnight.

Sgt Sheriff said the assault had a psychological affect on her. She was aware of the hearing but didn't want to make any statement because of her special needs status. She is a married woman and still living with her husband.

Following the assault investigation, Sgt Sheriff told the court that the defendant was arrested and detained at Wexford Garda Station where he made certain admissions during interview. He said the defendant had 19 previous convictions. The defendant, he said, is a father of two children, living in Dublin, while he worked the fishing boats when not on social welfare.

Defence Counsel Feargal Kavanagh said on the occasion there was a certain amount of alcohol involved. They had gone to the supermarket and bought drink, which they brought back to his brother's house, and drank from 6 p.m.

The defendant and victim had previously met on the train, exchanged telephone numbers, and subsequently met up. The row arose when the defendant realised for the first time that the victim was married. They had previously met a number of times and had developed a relationship but while in the bedroom the defendant discovered that she was married. He simply 'lost the plot' but accepted he had anger difficulties when he had drink taken.

Mr. Kavanagh said he entered a plea of guilty to save the victim from giving evidence. He is 40 years of age, has three children and two grandchildren. He is now engaged to a young lady and living with her parents.

Describing it as a very serious offence, Mr. Kavanagh said the defendant is remorseful and apologised for the incident.

He is not in a position to pay compensation but when he got back on the boats the prospect of paying compensation is there. He has three children, and two grandchildren, and is not married, but his previous girlfriend facilitates him seeing his younger child. He greatly regrets what happened but unfortunately a large amount of alcohol had been taken. He lost control of himself and is now attending anger management meetings to deal with this.

'This lady was vulnerable and was assaulted in many ways. He now sees the gravity of this and has taken steps to deal with this,' said Mr. Kavanagh.

'This was outrageous bullying activity. Not only did he punch her, but he stamped on her and tried to smother her, and strangle her, as evident by the bruises on her neck,' said Judge Hickson. He imposed a three-year prison sentence with one year suspended and ordered that the defendant continue to attend the AA while in prison.

Wexford People

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