Tuesday 20 February 2018

Assault victim ‘didn’t recognise her own son after the attack’

Paul McMenamy pictured leaving Tallaght District Court yesterday.
Paul McMenamy pictured leaving Tallaght District Court yesterday.

Nicola Donnelly & Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Tallaght man who assaulted his girlfriend and left her hospitalised for four months with serious head injuries will be sentenced later at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Paul McMenamy (28) of Donomore Green pleaded guilty to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to care worker Nicola Murray at Reuben Walk, Rialto on February 5, 2012. His previous convictions include assaults on two former girlfriends in 2005 and 2008.

Detective Sergeant Mick O'Brien told Vincent Heneghan, BL, prosecuting that the couple had been in a relationship for ten weeks prior to the assault.

They went to The Bird Flanagan pub on the night and called a babysitter to mind two of Ms Murray’s three young children. They arrived home shortly after 2.20am and let the babysitter go.

A next door neighbour told gardai she woke up when she heard a lot of banging from next door which lasted around 30 minutes.

Det Sgt O'Brien said McMenamy had called an ambulance at 3.16am and told the emergency services that his girlfriend had fallen down, banged her head and had a cut above her eyebrow.

He had indicated that Ms Murray was drunk and wasn't waking up. He didn’t give the emergency services his address and hung up the phone saying, he would call back in five minutes.

Ms Murray’s friend called to the house the following day and saw the victim in bed unconscious. Her face was swollen and she had a gash above her eyebrow.

The friend said McMenamy told her Ms Murray “went wild and ran amok with vodka” and that she came at him with a knife and whacked her head off the bed.

Another friend, Ann-Marie Kenny, said she called to the house and McMenamy said he had hit Ms Murray once to calm her down as he told her she was “like something out of The Exorcist.”

An ambulance was called at 4.49pm and the victim was taken to hospital where she spent one month in intensive care with a serious brain injury, a month in a ward and eight weeks in rehab in Dun Laoghaire.

In a victim impact report, Ms Murray’s family said the 28-year-old used to be a “bubbly, cheerful and outgoing person but now rarely goes out and flies off the handle at the drop of a hat.”

“She didn't even recognise her own son when she was in hospital and she had to be taught how to boil a kettle and use a knife and fork again. She is not the same Nicola we knew before,” the statement continued.

Det Sgt O’Brien said Ms Murray lost about €13,000 in earnings but has now returned to work part time at a Harolds Cross hospice.

The detective agreed with Caroline Biggs SC, defending, that her client’s admissions during interview that he’d “shoved” and “pushed” Ms Murray assisted with the investigation. He further agreed there was no evidence any children had witnessed the attack.

Ms Biggs, submitted to Judge Mary Ellen Ring that her client had obtained “a litany of certificates” while in custody pending the sentence and has engaged in therapy.

She submitted that McMenamy has anger management and drugs issues going back to his early teens and has sought to address these.

She asked the judge to take into account her client’s early guilty plea and his expression of remorse, which she submitted was “not empty or formulaic”.

Judge Ring commented that Ms Murray’s recovery “may never be complete” and that she has on going psychological issues.

The judge remanded McMenamy in continuing custody pending sentence later this month.

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