Thursday 22 August 2019

Convicted murderer given prison sentence for assault in which he threatened to slit woman's throat

Tadhg Butler. Picture: Patrick Browne
Tadhg Butler. Picture: Patrick Browne

Declan Brennan

A convicted murderer has received a prison sentence of four months for an assault in which he threatened to slit a woman's throat.

Kilkenny native Tadgh Butler (34) was convicted last April of murdering Michael O'Dwyer (25) with a single stab wound to the chest in Waterford in January 2014.

Today at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court Butler, also known as Thomas O'Grady, pleaded guilty to the assault of Joanna Walsh at St Patrick's Close, Kilkenny on April 30, 2011.

The assault case was transferred from Kilkenny to Dublin because of the adverse publicity surrounding the murder charge. He has 45 previous convictions dating back to 1992, when he was aged 11.

The court heard that Butler, with an address at Seafield in Tramore, Co Waterford, violently broke a bottle of wine off a table and came at the victim swinging the bottle at her face.

Garda Graham Gohery told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that the woman raised her arms to protect her face. Afterwards she noticed her arm was opened up and there was blood running down her face.

She stayed calm and asked Butler to get an ambulance but he refused, saying he would be arrested. She told him she would say she fell and an ambulance was called.

She was treated for injuries to her arm, neck and face. Before the attack Butler told the victim he was going to slit her throat.

When gardaí arrived they found Ms Walsh with a blood soaked tea towel wrapped around her arm. Butler was very drunk and became very aggressive towards members of the victim's family before gardaí arrested him.

The DPP originally charged Butler with an offence of assault causing harm, which comes with a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment. Last month the State accepted a plea to a lesser offence of common assault.

This offence has a maximum penalty of only six months but the court heard that any sentence must, by law, run alongside the life sentence he is serving.

Counsel for Butler said he has had a very difficult life and every conviction of his is rooted in alcohol. Butler's other convictions include theft and road traffic offences from district courts in Waterford and Dungarvan.

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