Saturday 23 September 2017

Man avoids jail after vicious assault on partner

Kathryn Hayes

A YOUNG graphic design graduate has described her "emotional agony" after she was punched, kicked and choked by her boyfriend who told her he was going to kill her.

Stephen O'Donnell, (25) of Derrybeg, Ballyclough, Ballyneety, Co Limerick, was "out of his mind with rage" when he threatened his then girlfriend Hilary Kennedy (23) following an argument at an apartment in Limerick city three years ago.

The Limerick School of Art and Design graduates had been out celebrating the end-of-term exams before the violent attack.

Limerick Circuit Court heard how the couple began to row after Ms Kennedy walked in on O'Donnell while he was with an ex-girlfriend in an apartment.

O'Donnell pleaded guilty at Limerick Circuit Court to the false imprisonment of Ms Kennedy at Grove Island, Limerick on May 24, 2010.

He also admitted threatening to kill or cause serious harm to then 20-year-old and to assaulting her causing her harm on the same date.

In his evidence at Limerick Circuit Court yesterday, Garda Dino Wilkinson recalled how O'Donnell, while choking his girlfriend, told her "I've already decided I'm going to jail" after he threatened to kill her.

She said she spent the months after the attack in "absolute emotional agony", paranoid and unable to trust anyone.

Taking into account O'Donnell's guilty plea, his co-operation with the gardai and his indication of remorse and otherwise good character, Judge Moran imposed a two-year suspended jail sentence on all three charges.

Judge Moran also reserved his final decision on an undisclosed offer of compensation made by the accused and ordered that the money be lodged to the court.

Irish Independent

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