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Saturday 30 August 2014

Convicted killer jailed for horrific sexual assault of former partner

Declan Brenan and Sonya McLean

Published 29/07/2013 | 18:25

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A convicted killer and registered sex offender whose sexual assault of his former partner was likened to a rape with a machete has been jailed for 13 years.

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Walter Morrissey (70) of Upper Bridge Street, Callan in Kilkenny was found guilty of leaving his former partner with life threatening injuries following an aggravated sexual assault at his home.

The Central Criminal Court heard medical evidence that Morrissey had used his fist to tear a six centimetre rip in the woman's vagina. When she was brought to hospital a doctor remarked that he didn’t know how she was still alive.

Gynaecologist Dr Ray O’Sullivan said it was an injury more likely to be seen in a woman raped with machetes in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mr Justice George Birmingham called Morrissey a cunning, devious and manipulative man who represents a significant threat to public.

He said he was particularly concerned by his previous conviction for a double manslaughter and his conviction for seven counts of indecent assault of a woman.

Detective Garda Frank McKenna told Vincent Heneghan BL, prosecuting, that the indecent assaults in 1999 were of a similar nature to this assault and involved penetration of the vagina with fists or an object.

Morrissey had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to aggravated sexual assault and intentionally or recklessly causing the woman serious harm in a Kilkenny town on dates between December 1 and December 8, 2011.

Mr Heneghan told the court that the victim has no objection to Morrissey being publicly named.

Morrissey had previously fired his legal team. Today, he made his own brief plea of mitigation before sentencing in which he said he was trained in IUI (intrauterine insemination).

He also said he was very pleased that the victim was healthy and that he tried to help her in every way.

He smiled and waved at reporters as prison officers led him from the court room.

The victim told the trial that she woke up in the early hours of the morning to find a man putting his fist up her vagina and twisting it around.

“He put his whole fist inside me. It was the worst pain I ever felt in my life. I could feel his hand twist inside me. I pulled his hand out of me,” she said.

 She said there was blood rushing from her and she thought she was haemorrhaging. Morrissey called a GP but the woman refused to go to hospital when an ambulance crew came.

Morrissey called the GP again the next day when the woman was semi-conscious. Mr Justice Birmingham said that these calls were perhaps self motivated.

The victim spent four months in hospital recovering. 

The woman told the trial that the accused offered her €10,000 to have a child for him.

“He offered me €10,000 if I had a kid for him. He said I could have a child for him and go away,” she said.

Morrissey told her if she didn't have sex with him, “she knew where the door was”.

“He said if I didn't do those things he'd show me the door and I'd have nowhere to live,” she told the court.

“Sometimes I'd have to drink to do some of the things he'd want me to do,” she told the trial.

The victim told a doctor that she was regularly sexually assaulted with fists and plastic objects, including a turkey baster.

The trial heard graphic medical evidence in relation to the life threatening injuries sustained by the victim.

Dr Ray O’Sullivan told Paddy McCarthy SC, prosecuting, “It was such an unusual injury, one that I had rarely seen in my 20 years working.”

The surgeon told the jury that the woman had a large 6-8cm tear in her vagina close to her bladder which was gaping by about 2-3cm.

“It is something you would more likely see in Sub-Saharan Africa where woman have been raped with machetes,” the witness said.

He told the jury that his colleague had opened the woman’s abdomen during surgery in order to treat an infection in her stomach, while he examined her vagina to see if he might find an infection there.

“We could physically make contact with each other while examining the woman,” Dr O’ Sullivan said which he confirmed meant that he and his colleague could touch fingers through a hole in the woman’s abdominal cavity.

“This should not be able to happen, normally the uterus, bladder and bowel would be in the way,” Dr O’Sullivan said. He regularly referred to the woman as “this poor lady” during testimony.

He added that he and his colleague wondered: “How is this woman alive? And that is not exaggerating.”

Dr O'Sullivan said that said that the victim's sodium levels were very low and effectively this meant that her blood had been diluted, possibly with water.

Detective Garda McKenna said that after his arrest, Morrissey denied he had caused the injuries but admitted he had an interest in “amateur gynaecology”.

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