independent

Sunday 23 April 2017

Jailed for hitting partner with stick

Two-year prison sentence for 'vicious, violent, brutal attack'

A man who hit his partner across the head with a stick burned the stick in the fire and mopped up the blood was sentenced at Wicklow Circuit Court last week.

David Hackett (44), formerly of 4 River Lodge Apartments, Riverwalk, Arklow, received a three years sentence with the final 12 months suspended. The sentence was backdated to June 25, when he went into custody in the UK on a European arrest warrant.

State prosecutor Paul Murray told the court that the injured party, Linda Kinsella, is a widow of some seven years. She lives in Rathdrum with her daughter and grandchildren and was in a relationship with Hackett at the time of the assault.

On March 17, 2014, she and Hackett went for drinks in a bar in Arklow. Mr Murray said that she doesn't remember leaving the bar. At Hackett's flat, she remembers waking up crying, and seeing blood on the floor. She later recalled him burning a stick in the fire after beating her.

Garda Ceara Dillane told the court that she responded to a call to the flat. She said that Ms Kinsella was in a laneway nearby and told Garda Dillane that she had pretended to be unconscious during the attack before leaving the flat. Garda Dillane said that Ms Kinsella's head was cut and bleeding, and her hair was matted with blood.

Arrangements were made for Ms Kinsella to stay with a friend. She said she did not want medical attention at that time.

Garda Dillane went into the apartment for her personal effects. She said that the fire was lighting in the stove and logs burning. She said that the floor was wet and a full mop bucket and mop in the corner. Hackett had blood on his top.

Ms Kinsella suffered a contusion to the head and laceration to the scalp. Some hours later that morning she suffered a heart attack.

Hackett was arrested and questioned in June and the following day, before being charged, he left the country and went to England. He was arrested in the UK on June 25, 2016, and at Dublin airport on July 6.

A barrister acting for Hackett put it to Garda Dillane that two barmen from the pub said that he was never aggressive, and the incident wouldn't be consistent with the man they knew.

'It wouldn't be consistent with the man they knew in public,' said Garda Dillane.

The court heard that Hackett had said the couple had a row in the pub and argued on the way home. He said that she physically assaulted him but also that he had not meant to hurt her. He could not recall events clearly.

In a victim impact statement read to the court by Mr Murray, Ms Kinsella said that she has been unable to work. She said that she had been a happy-go-lucky, carefree person who enjoyed socialising and mixing with people. She loved her job and buying new clothes, but now has to force herself to go outside and feels isolated.

'I don't feel safe, I just want to blend into the wall,' her statement said.

'I did everything for Davey,' she continued. 'I fed him, cleaned up after him when he had fits. If he was drunk I stayed awake all night to make sure he didn't choke on his vomit.'

'I cleaned up his vomit and cleaned up after him when he soiled the bed.'

'I can't believe he ran away. He blamed my brothers for having to leave. He had not one iota of remorse for what he did. He tried to blame me, saying it was self defence,' Ms Kinsella said her her statement.

Hackett has displayed signs of drink dependency and has been abstinent for the past 18 months, the court heard.

After the incident, he felt animosity from relatives of Ms Kinsella and felt he was at risk. While he did go to England, he lived openly and was not 'on the run', his solicitor said.

'He hadn't been formally charged when he went to England so he wasn't in breach of bail and didn't act illegally,' said Judge Michael O'Shea.

He said that what happened to Ms Kinsella was shocking. 'She was in a hopeless situation. He was in a dominant situation as a male, and armed with a stick. This was a vicious, violent, brutal attack. He subjected her to a horrific ordeal.' He noted that the defendant had entered a plea of guilty, appeared to have remorse, and has been abstemious regarding alcohol.

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