Friday 23 August 2019

10-year jail term for throat slash attack on civil servant

Trial: Laura Kenna. Photo: Collins Courts
Trial: Laura Kenna. Photo: Collins Courts

Natasha Reid

A woman has been jailed for 10 years for trying to murder a civil servant when she was walking home from work in Dublin two years ago.

The judge praised the victim, describing her as brave and "lucky that she is still with us".

Laura Kenna (36), of no fixed abode, was found guilty by a jury last month of attempting to murder Fionnuala Burke on Lower Drumcondra Road in the capital on January 3, 2017, and of assault causing serious harm on the same occasion.

Kenna had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to both counts, but this was rejected at the Central Criminal Court jury on March 5.

The trial heard Ms Burke, who worked for the Department of Social Protection, was walking home when she noticed a woman sitting on a wall outside a house.

As Ms Burke approached, Laura Kenna sprang up and pushed her back onto a grassy area. Kenna didn't say anything but started to stab her.

Ms Burke felt short stabs and could also feel her face being slashed, before she felt a dramatic slash straight across her neck. Kenna then spoke, telling Ms Burke that she'd let her go if she handed over her handbag.

The jury saw photographs of the large, deep cut across Ms Burke's neck. She required surgery and had other injuries to her face and body.

Kenna later admitted to gardaí: "I sliced her like you would a goat."

Ms Justice Tara Burns said yesterday Kenna's admissions had been very graphic and had demonstrated an attempt to kill. "This was a shocking incident," she said.

She said it was clear Kenna was suffering from a significant mental health condition at the time, which might have gone untreated for up to six years.

A headline sentence of 17 years in prison was appropriate, said Ms Justice Burns. However, after having regard to mitigating factors, she imposed a 15-year term.

The last five years were suspended on condition she cooperate with a psychiatrist, abide by all treatment regimes and remain drug and alcohol free for the duration.

Irish Independent

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