Tuesday 26 September 2017

Man who beat his girlfriend and bit her on the face avoids jail

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Sonya McLean and Conor Gallagher

A Wicklow man who beat his girlfriend for over an hour and bit her on the face after they had an argument in their home has been given a suspended sentence.

Judge Melanie Greally said Ian Sheridan (32) carried out a very serious assault involving considerable violence but that a “custodial sentence is not necessitated”. She said Sheridan had dealt with his “demons” including addressing his drink and drug problems.

The judge noted Sheridan raised €1,600 in compensation for his former partner Patricia Rodriguez, but that she did not want to accept it. The money would instead be donated to the women's refuge Ms Rodriguez attended after the assault.

Judge Greally imposed a three year sentence which she suspended for three years on condition Sheridan keeps the peace and engages with the restorative justice programme.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that after the assault Ms Rodriguez sneaked out of the house when Sheridan eventually fell asleep. She never returned to the home again and spent some time in a women's refuge. The couple had moved in together the previous month.

Sheridan of New Brighton Terrace, Parnell Road, Bray pleaded guilty to assault causing harm on February 21, 2015.

Garda Paul Newport told Maddie Grant BL, prosecuting, that Ms Rodriguez and Sheridan had an argument at their home that evening. She left to get some fresh air and coffee before returning back home. Sheridan arrived back an hour and half later.

Ms Rodriguez later told gardaí she could smell alcohol from Sheridan and assumed he had been drinking.

Sheridan then grabbed her hair, punched her around her eye and bit her face twice around her jaw. He also punched her all over her body.

The victim said the violence lasted an hour or two and he wouldn't stop when she asked him to. Sheridan dragged her from the bedroom to the living room during the attack.

It came to an end when she suggested they go to sleep. She lay in bed awake and when she felt he had fallen asleep, she left, leaving most of her belongings behind.

Sheridan was arrested but made no admissions during interview. He has previous convictions for theft, public order and road traffic offences.

A victim impact and medical reports were handed into court but not read out.

Gda Newport agreed with Kim Moloney BL, defending that Sheridan had offered Ms Rodriguez €1,600 as a token of his remorse and handed in a letter of apology.

Counsel told Judge Greally that her client suffered from psychosis brought on by drug and alcohol abuse but he was now no longer using drugs. A probation report concluded that he was at a low risk of re-offending.

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