Three-year sentence for violent assault on Kilkenny teenager

Mary Cody

Reporter:

Mary Cody

Email:

mary.cody@kilkennypeople.ie

Three-year sentence for violent assault on Kilkenny teenager

Kilkenny Courthouse

A three-year sentence was handed down to a man who admitted a violent assault which resulted in long-lasting injuries on his teenage victim.

Thomas Donovan, 36A Connolly Street admitted the assault at John Street on July 6, 2015, which resulted in the injured party being unable to eat solid food for over a month.

The court heard that the defendant had been going out with the injured party on 'an on/off fashion' prior to the assault.

Garda Lorraine Hurley told the court on the night in question she got a call to attend St Luke's Hospital where she met the injured party's father who said that his daughter had been assaulted by Thomas Donovan.

The court heard that the defendant was identified using CCTV footage and that the injured party's parents 'did not approve of her going out with him'.

On the night of the attack, there was a verbal altercation between the defendant and injured party on John Street.

The defendant followed the injured party down a side street and 'put her up against a wall and punched her up to ten times in the face. She fled and went to her sister's house.

She arrived at her sister's house at approximately 7 pm and there was blood on her nose and upper lip and her face was swollen. She was hysterical and finding it hard to breath and told her sister 'he broke my jaw'.

Medical evidence was given in court which stated that the injured party attended the Accident and Emergency Department at St Luke's Hospital. A medical report stated that there was swelling to her face and that x-rays showed that she had a fracture to her jawbone. She was brought to St James Hospital and had to have an operation on her jaw and could not eat solid food for over a month.

Donovan was arrested and detained and admitted the assault. He told gardaí: 'I hit her. I was full of drink and drugs'. When asked why he hit her he said 'I don't know, I blacked out'.

A victim impact statement was handed into to court which outlined how the injured party had sustained €1500 in medical bills.

The young woman said that she finds it hard to look in the mirror.

“I look like a different person,” she said in her statement, which was read out in court. She also 'lost the feeling in her face' and 'did not leave the house for at least a month' following the attack. She also lost a significant amount of weight and is now 'terrified of being home alone'.

Her statement outlined how she was 'pinned to the wall' and 'punched ten times' and how her jaw was broken in three places. As a result of the assault she also lost the feeling in the left side of her lower lip and was told that it might not come back.

The injured party said in her statement that she was 'heartbroken' and 'felt so lonely' following the assault. She had metal plates inserted in her jaw and her weight dropped from eight stone to six and a half stone. She said that she 'won't stay alone as she is terrified that something will happen'. In her statement, she said that she just wants 'to feel normal again'.

The court heard that the accused has 39 previous convictions including convictions for assault, public order and theft.

His defence barrister outlined to the court how his client has 'addiction problems'. The court heard that his client had been going out with the injured party for a while prior to the incidence and they had broken up and then agreed to meet up.

“He totally accepts what he did,” he said. There was evidence of a disagreement outside a restaurant and the defendant got 'into a rage'. He was seen on CCTV on the evening in question. He also subsequently tried to apologise to the injured party. The court heard the defendant is in a relationship with another person and has a child with them.

The court heard that the defendant was 'at a concert for a few days prior to the assault and was taking a lot of cocaine, 'e ''s and cannabis. He came back down (to Kilkenny) and was hoping to resurrect the relationship. He told gardaí that he does not have a clear recollection of the attack but that it was 'done in a rage' and that 'when he calmed down he knew he had done something so serious'.

A probation report handed into the court outlined how the defendant comes from ' a difficult background' and 'lacked any type of father figure' and that he 'shows genuine remorse'.

Judge Brian O'Callaghan convicted the defendant of assault causing harm.

“This young girl still looks and sees the effects of this assault every day. I accept that it was not pre-meditated and that it was carried out in a rage.

He continued that the fact the assault took place in the city centre was 'disturbing'.

“The fact that this girl is known to you and you were fond of her makes it worse'. He also pointed out that the defendant had an upbringing where violence was normalised , that he had no father figure when he was growing up and that he expressed regret.

He imposed a three-year sentence and suspended the final six months on condition that he enter a bond and be of good behaviour for two years on leaving prison.