Man gets five years for slashing wife's toes with blade
A MAN has been jailed for five years for attacking his wife with a Stanley knife, cutting off the tops of her toes in one attack and biting her nose and slashing her face with the knife in another.
He was also banned from ever contacting his wife again.
Martin Ward (41), a father of 10 who lives in a caravan at Abbeybog, Abbeyknockmoy, Tuam, Co Galway, was found guilty by a jury at Galway Circuit Criminal Court of two charges of assaulting his wife, Kathleen Ward, causing her harm on September 22, 2009, at Green Gate Bog, Abbert, and again at Abbey Bog, Abbeyknockmoy, on September 25, 2009.
But despite making a statement to the gardai about the assault, Mrs Ward denied in the witness stand that her alcoholic husband had ever raised a hand to her.
In her earlier statement -- made to Gda Eoin Fox on September 25, 2009 -- Mrs Ward said that on September 22 last year while she and her husband were drinking heavily in their caravan at Green Gate Bog he got "real angry" around 11pm and started hitting her. He took out a Stanley knife and came at her, cutting the tops off the toes on her right foot.
She said they moved their caravan the following evening to Abbey Bog and three days later, after another bout of heavy drinking, her husband "went mad" and bit her nose.
He got the Stanley knife again and cut her forehead over her left eye. She ran from him and hid in the bog in the dark. He couldn't find her and she walked about six miles to her mother's caravan in Cluain Tuath, near Tuam, and from there contacted gardai.
Mrs Ward denied in the witness box that she had ever been assaulted by her husband. She said the hitch on their caravan had fallen across her toes and that the cut over her eye occurred when she fell about after drinking heavily with her husband.
Det Sgt Mick O'Driscoll told the sentencing hearing the couple were both chronic alcoholics and they lived in primitive conditions in very small caravans for years with no electricity or running water. He said the council had provided them with two houses in the past but they always returned to the caravan after a few months.
He said that no matter how drunk Martin Ward had been over the years, he had always co-operated with gardai and had been polite and respectful to them.
"We will have to put a uniform on his wife so and perhaps he will respect her as well," Judge Raymond Groarke said.
Sgt O'Driscoll said Kathleen Ward had made numerous complaints of assault against her husband to gardai over the last 10 years but on every occasion the prosecution case fell when she withdrew her complaints.
However, he said, there had been one successful prosecution when Martin Ward received a three-year sentence in the Circuit Court on March 1, 2007, for assaulting his wife. The final two years and three months of that sentence had been suspended for five years at the time, on condition he stayed off drink and stayed away from his wife.
Mrs Ward had come back to the court asking for that ban to be lifted in July, 2007.
The judge told Ward the two assaults on his wife could only be described as "unmitigated acts of savagery" and he would end up murdering somebody.
The judge noted Ward had "attacked and savaged" his wife while under court bond in relation to the previous conviction in 2007.
"He is either going to murder somebody or spend the rest of his life in prison and if his family care they will see he doesn't touch another drop," the judge said.
He then activated the two years and three-month portion of the sentence that had been suspended in 2007, before imposing two consecutive three-year sentences on Ward (totalling six years) for the two most recent assaults.
Judge Groarke said Ward was now facing eight years and three months in jail. "And that is the place for him because he is a menace and he is going to do more harm than he has done to date," he said.
He then suspended the final three years and three months of the sentence.