Friday 15 December 2017

Man gets nine years for assault of woman (97) in home

Conor Gallagher

A man has been sentenced to nine years for assaulting and threatening to kill a 97-year-old woman in her home.

Paul McDonagh (41) fled the scene by climbing into the back garden of the house of a garda who had just gone off duty.

He was arrested after also threatening the garda, who was feeding his baby at the time.

McDonagh, of no fixed abode, but originally from Salthill in Galway, has 48 previous convictions, including four burglaries in the UK of elderly victims where he posed as a police officer.

He has also served a 12-year sentence for breaking into a woman's home, tying her up and assaulting her.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to threatening the woman and Gda Francis Chaney, assault causing harm to the woman and burglary of her home on June 8, 2010, in the Marino, Dublin, area.

The 97-year-old widow appeared in court, and prosecuting counsel Ronan Kennedy read out a victim-impact statement on her behalf saying she still had "terrible nightmares".

"After 97 years of trusting people, I felt he took all of that away from me in a few minutes," she said.


Judge Martin Nolan called it a "highly reprehensible crime" and said that McDonagh threatened his victim "mercilessly".

He said McDonagh was a continuing threat to society but noted he had entered a guilty plea. He sentenced him to nine years with the final three suspended.

Garda Cathriona O'Leary told the court that at around 7pm the woman spotted McDonagh in her front garden. She asked him if he was looking for something and he offered to tidy her garden for €10.

He then entered the house and asked for the victim's name and phone number before saying he was going to make a list of things he was going to fix in her house.

He then put his hands on her knees, leaned in close to her face and began saying repeatedly: "I'm going to kill you."

He began shouting this before saying: "I can put you on your back and kill you." He put his hands over her mouth and pushed her head back.

He then fled with her purse.

The woman started screaming and two neighbours spotted McDonagh and chased him. He climbed into Gda Chaney's garden. McDonagh demanded to be let through the house but Gda Chaney refused and called his colleagues on the phone.

McDonagh went to push the garda and was restrained after a struggle.

Irish Independent

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