Wednesday 21 March 2018

Hatchet victim asks court to protect his family from brother

Gordon Deegan

A MAN has said he needs state protection after his 38-year-old brother nearly severed his ear during a hatchet attack.

Michael James McDonagh, known as Jimmy, is due to be sentenced on Thursday for the assault causing harm of his brother, Michael McDonagh.

The attack happened at Ballymurtagh halting site in Shannon, Co Clare, on August 31 last.

A jury found Michael James guilty of the assault at Ennis Circuit Court last Friday after a four-day trial.

After the verdict, his brother said that he thought he was going to die during the attack.

"My children witnessed the attack on me and were screaming in terror . . . I know how close I came to death," he said.

"My children keep asking me, 'will Uncle Jimmy come back again Dad?', and I have to keep telling them that he will never come back again."

In the victim impact statement delivered to the court at the sentencing hearing, Mr McDonagh went on: "I have to seek protection from the State from my own brother. This must show how afraid I am and how desperate I am to be protected."

Mr McDonagh added: "I know that he wanted to kill me, and my wife Julie thought I was going to die. I am not the first brother that Jimmy has attacked and I am 100pc sure that I will not be the last.


"Unless some drastic intervention is made, our lives as a family will never be the same.

"My wife and I know that we are left with a broken and troubled family for years to come. I will never again trust Jimmy to be around our family. I would not want him around us."

Mr McDonagh asked the court to impose a sentence that would include urgent medical treatment to deal with his brother's high dependency on drugs.

He said: "It would give me great relief to know that he would . . . not just serve a sentence and come out and finished what he started."

The court was told that Michael James had 97 previous convictions and had spent half of his life in jail.

Detective Garda David Lang said Mr McDonagh was attacked by his brother with a hatchet while he was watching TV with his children and wife at 8pm on the night.

Det Garda Lang said: "The strike from the hatchet almost severed half of Michael McDonagh's ear from his head.


"He also required stitches to a wound at the back of his head and received an injury to his abdomen and he required 10 to 15 stitches to this wound."

Counsel for the State, Stephen Coughlan, said that a photo "shows Mr McDonagh's ear is almost detached from the side of his head".

Det Gda Lang said that the attack by Michael James on his brother was sparked by their father, Frank, calling the gardai in relation to a dispute between himself and Mr McDonagh earlier that day.

Counsel for Michael James, Pat Whyms, asked that the maximum five-year jail term not be imposed with a portion of the sentence to be suspended on certain conditions that he immediately on his release from prison enter a treatment programme as directed by the Probation Service.

Irish Independent

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