Tuesday 27 September 2016

Husband convicted of savage assault which left his wife with horrific injuries including a brain wound, a collapsed lung and lacerated liver

Published 24/02/2016 | 16:58

Anthony Kelleher covering his face at an earlier hearing, inset
Anthony Kelleher covering his face at an earlier hearing, inset
Anthony Kelleher attending an earlier hearing
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

A MAN was convicted of a savage assault which left his wife with horrific injuries including a brain wound, a collapsed lung and a lacerated liver.

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Anthony Kelleher (42) was convicted of assault causing serious harm to his wife, Siobhan (36), despite the fact the woman refused to give evidence at his Cork Circuit Criminal Court trial.

Ms Kelleher wept as her husband was taken into custody today following the week-long trial.

She had to be placed in a medically induced coma on June 12 2014 after being discovered by paramedics with serious injuries at her home at Raleigh North, Macroom, Co Cork.

The trial heard that Ms Kelleher was in a critical condition by the time she arrived at Cork University Hospital (CUH).

She also suffered a stroke.

Anthony Kelleher had vehemently denied assaulting his wife of seven years.

The couple had married in Cyprus in 2008.

However, he was unanimously convicted by a jury of nine men and three women after one hour and 15 minutes of deliberations.

The defendant was remanded in custody by Judge Sean O'Donnabhain for sentencing on May 9.

Judge O'Donnabhain granted leave for the defence to apply for expert submissions including a psychiatric report to assist with sentencing.

The trial heard that Gardai received a complaint from the woman about her husband's behaviour.

She alleged that he came home “ranting and raving”, dragged her out of bed and threw her down the stairs of the family home.

Det Garda Tom O’Sullivan confirmed he took a statement from Ms Kelleher on June 25 2014 as she recovered in hospital.

She said her spouse had been “cursing and blinding” at her about a call made to their home.

In the garda statement, the woman explained he followed her to their bedroom when she went to bed.

“I went to bed and covered my head. He pulled the blankets off me. I said 'sorry.' I put my hand up to my face to save my head. I didn’t want bruises,” she said in the statement.

“He pulled me out of bed by the ponytail. There were clumps of hair. He threw me down the stairs and kicked me in the ass.”

Gardai said she later told them her husband visited her in a Cork hospital and said that, if she had died, he would have thrown himself into a river.

The trial heard that Ms Kelleher suffered a stroke, brain injury and multiple fractures.

She was treated at Cork University Hospital (CUH) and the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dún Laoghaire.

Defence counsel Tom Creed told the trial a blood sample taken from Ms Kelleher revealed she was over the legal limit for driving on June 12.

He said it was his client’s contention that his wife had suffered an accidental fall.

Kelleher denied ever striking his wife.

Mr Creed said Ms Kelleher had suffered post-natal depression and had a chronic drinking problem.

Sgt Marie Keating said she met Ms Kelleher by appointment in April 2015 and she expressed her wish to withdraw her earlier statement against her spouse.

Ms Kelleher told Sgt Keating that she had very little recollection of the date in question and that she must have slipped or tripped on June 12.

She said it was possible she fell while putting out the washing.

Ms Kelleher also told the garda that her husband was a “good father,” “a good husband” and from a “respectable family”.

"I do not want him charged," she said.

Dr Jason van der Veldt, who assisted paramedics in the ambulance on the day of the incident, said he was surprised to note “multiple bruises all over (her) body of various ages”.

Ms Kelleher had suffered a brain injury, a lacerated liver, a collapsed lung and a stroke.

Dr Louise Kelly of CUH stated that Mrs Kelleher was put in a medically induced coma at the hospital.

She noted a fracture in the left wrist and a compound fracture in the right little finger.

She also noted bruising of the abdomen and multiple bruising on the lower limbs.

Dr Kelly recalled that some of Ms Kelleher’s bruises were older and had gone green and yellow.

Ms Kelleher also had bruising on the scalp on both sides. She had right rib fractures and liver lacerations.

Dr Kelly said, in her opinion, the liver lacerations didn’t match normal parameters for a fall down the stairs, as such a condition generally involves force from the front to the back.

“The sheer force couldn’t have happened with a fall down the stairs,” she said.

Some injuries also appeared to be defensive in nature.

Evidence was also submitted that hair found at the Kelleher home had been torn out of the woman's head.

During the trial, Ms Kelleher took to the witness stand but declined to answer questions from either the prosecution or the defence.

"I refuse to give any evidence, judge," she said.

The woman now walks with the aid of a cane.

Judge O'Donnabhain said it was "a particularly difficult case" and excused the jury from further service for 10 years.

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