Tuesday 15 October 2019

Jessica Bowes awarded €150k following vicious street attack by former partner

  • Former soldier Jonathan McSherry served 22 months in prison
  • Ms Bowes lost consciousness twice in the attack which lasted more than a minute
Jonathan McSherry, pictured leaving the Four Courts after a High Court action taken against him by his former partner, Jessica Bowes.Pic: Collins Courts
Jonathan McSherry, pictured leaving the Four Courts after a High Court action taken against him by his former partner, Jessica Bowes.Pic: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A woman who was severely beaten by the father of her two children leaving her with long term physical and psychological damage has been awarded €150,000 against him by the High Court.

Former soldier, Jonathan McSherry (36), formerly of Cedarbrook Walk, Cherry Orchard, Dublin, who served 22 months of a three-and-a-half year prison sentence for the attack on Jessica Bowes, accepted he broke nearly every bone in her face and kicked her a number of times. 

1/3/2019 Jessica Bowes, pictured leaving the Four Courts after a High Court action taken by her against her former partner,Jonathan McSherry. Pic: Collins Courts
1/3/2019 Jessica Bowes, pictured leaving the Four Courts after a High Court action taken by her against her former partner,Jonathan McSherry. Pic: Collins Courts

He had apologised and her case against him was before the High Court for assessment of damages.

The court heard he owns two properties in Cavan, one of which he transferred into his mother's name in 2017.

McSherry attacked her after she arrived in a taxi with others at her Clondalkin home on December 20, 2015, after she had been on a Christmas night out, to find McSherry waiting there.

CCTV footage showed him dragging her from the taxi, punching, kicking and dragging her along the ground while still punching her.  She lost consciousness twice in the attack which lasted more than a minute and a half before she crawled into a neighbour's house.

Jessica Bowes with Jonathan McSherry (34), of Cedarbrook Walk, Cherry Orchard, Dublin
Jessica Bowes with Jonathan McSherry (34), of Cedarbrook Walk, Cherry Orchard, Dublin

In her civil action, she told the court  she was headbutted by McSherry and described his actions as "if he were hunting".  She tried to protect herself by trying to crawl under a parked car and believes she was kicked up to 20 times.

The consequences of her injuries included that she found it impossible to fully close her lips due to the damage and felt her face appeared deformed.  Doctors had to insert a permanent metal plate through her mouth to align the facial bones.

Ex-soldier Jonathan McSherry
Ex-soldier Jonathan McSherry

Pyschological evidence showed she had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic anxiety, nightmares and is fearful for her own safety and that of her children.   She was described by psychologists as severely damaged and vulnerable.

In defending the civil action, it was argued on McSherry's behalf that in the immediate aftermath of the assault she was examined and showed no evidence of cognitive loss.

It was also stated that he had to leave the army after the attack and had begun his own business.

He accepted he had carried out the acts seen on video.

Ms Bowes after the assault that left her unconscious
Ms Bowes after the assault that left her unconscious

He said he spent seven months in a centre for his drug addiction and had been released early from prison to take part in an Alcoholics Anonymous course.  He also took a course with an organisation helping men overcome violence called MOVE.

He complained because he had been in the eye of the media over the attack no one would employ him. 

He agreed he owns an apartment  Cavan, which he has transferred to his mother, and another property, also in Cavan.

Ms Justice Bronagh O'Hanlon found Ms Bowes account of the incident was factually correct.

It was, the judge said, an extremely serious case and that the assault caused the difficulties she has experienced which are ongoing and permanent.

The court noted McSherry's  admissions and apology did not come immediately.

It was not the function of the civil court to punish the defendant but rather to assess the appropriate measure of damages arising from the assault.

She also noted the steps he took to rehabilitate himself which was to be welcomed. 

But it did not reduce the amount of compensatory damages Ms Bowes was entitled to.

In the circumstances, the appropriate award was €150,000, she said.

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