Thursday 21 September 2017

Former soldier jailed for repeatedly punching and kicking ex-partner

Stock picture
Stock picture

Declan Brennan

A judge has jailed a former soldier who repeatedly punched and kicked his ex-partner, fracturing her eyes, face and skull.

Jessica Bowes begged for her life during the “merciless” attack by Jonathan McSherry (34). McSherry was high on cocaine when he breached a barring order to wait at the victim's home to assault her.

At Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Melanie Greally said that McSherry's “brutal acts of violence” left his victim unconsciousness and in “a very perilous position”.

McSherry of Cedarbrook Walk, Cherry Orchard, Dublin pleaded guilty to assault causing harm at Grange View Way, Clondalkin on December 20, 2015.

Footage of the attack, played in court, showed him punching Ms Bowes to the ground, kicking her at least four times and then dragging her along the ground and continuing to punch her.

She lost consciousness after the first punch and then a second time during what she described as a merciless attack. She said she thought she was going to die.

The assault left her with permanent scarring and nerve damage. In a victim impact report the mother-of-three said her lips wouldn't close together fully and in a cold environment her top lip didn't move, making her face look “deformed”.

The court heard there were fractures to her skull, eye sockets and cheek bone. The imprint of a shoe was left on her face and there were boot marks under her chin.

She had a metal plate put into her face. Her memory was impaired and she relied on her 10-year-old daughter to remind her of the younger children's birthdays, the court heard.

Ms Bowes said she was now overprotective of her children and in a constant state of anxiety. She had nightmares about McSherry and became paralysed with fear and “trapped in a nightmare”.

Judge Greally previously remanded McSherry on continuing bail to Wednesday so he could continue his treatment at the Coolmine residential drug treatment programme.

She suspended the last year of a three and a half year prison sentence on condition that he remain alcohol and free and that he attend a Probation Services group for men who engage in violence against women.

She also ordered him to refrain from having any contact with the victim. She backdated the sentence to March last to take account of time spent in custody and treatment.

Garda Stephen Kelly told the court that there was a barring order placed against McSherry the previous January. On the night of the attack, the victim and two friends were getting a lift to her home from a nightclub.

McSherry was waiting at the house and jumped on the car, smashing its front window with his fists. He then began his attack, punching the victim up to eight times.

At one point, when she regained consciousness, she told him, “you're going to kill me” but he kept punching her in the head. McSherry was arrested on the night and remanded in custody until the following April when he was granted bail on condition he take part in the drug treatment programme.

Rebecca Smith BL, defending, said her client had a history of depression and drug addiction. She said that his time in prison was a short sharp shock and the best thing to happen to him.

She said since then he had genuinely turned his life around and had successfully engaged with alternatives to violence programmes at Coolmine.

Counsel said McSherry, who has two young children with the victim, had no words to express his remorse for his actions.

“He has done everything he can to make amends, to try to change himself, for the sake of his family and for the sake of his children”.

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