Warder jailed for beating wife 'until baseball bat shattered'
Published 05/03/2011 | 05:00
A FORMER prison officer who battered his wife so severely with a baseball bat it was feared she would lose an eye was yesterday jailed for six years.
Paul Morris (50), from Cork, was convicted last week of assault causing serious harm and false imprisonment of his wife Teresa at the family home on the morning of Friday, January 29, 2010.
Sentencing at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Patrick Moran said: "You attacked her with a baseball bat when her back was turned to you and she did not see it coming," adding, "this was a ferocious and violent attack on your wife and your behaviour amounted to savagery.
"The last thing she would have expected when she woke up that morning is that she was going to be attacked in this way."
Judge Moran added he understood that Morris only stopped his savage attack when he realised his wife could lose an eye.
The court had already heard that the attack on Ms Morris was so violent that the baseball bat shattered during the assault and that Morris continued to punch and kick his wife as she collapsed to the floor.
After the attack, Morris went to call an ambulance but his wife escaped to a neighbour's house through a window. She was drenched in blood.
The court heard the victim required several operations, was treated for face and skull fractures and also required reconstructive surgery.
Judge Moran added: "I thought your wife was very brave to sit in that witness box and tell me what happened to her."
Ms Morris told the court her husband had shown no remorse since the attack and she believed he was going to kill her. She said she has no wish to have any contact with him in the future.
The judge said he was conscious that being a former jail officer would "make it difficult for you in prison" but said the seriousness of the crime meant that Morris "must suffer the consequences" of his actions.
Morris's sister Linda told the court that the events of January last had shocked the Morris family and that Morris's elderly father was "absolutely devastated" by what had happened.
Linda Morris described her brother as a family man who was "devastated and ashamed" by what he had done, adding that "in my opinion he lost his mind on that day, he is a shadow of his former self".
Tom Creed, counsel for Morris said he accepted he must face a custodial sentence but pleaded with the judge to suspend part of the sentence and place Morris under the supervision of the probation service on release to offer his wife some sense of security.
Mr Creed said: "He will be a marked man and will clearly be at risk in the prison system. He has destroyed his life, when he comes out there will be very little for him."
Judge Moran sentenced Morris to eight years in prison with the last two suspended and bound him to keep the peace for five years from release. He was also barred from having any contact with his wife for 10 years and ordered not to come within half a kilometre of where she was living or working.