Saturday 7 December 2019

Man who assaulted ex-partner following row given three year suspended sentence

Nicola Donnelly and Sonya McLean

A MAN who assaulted his ex-partner following a row over credit card bills has been given a three year suspended sentence at the Central Criminal Court.

Patrick Whelan (45) of O’Connell Street, Dungarvan, Co Waterford was convicted by a jury last December of assault causing harm to Jennifer Kay at her home in Waterford on March 7, 2009

Mr Justice Paul Carney said an assault on a woman must be treated with the “utmost gravity” and that the offence warranted a three year term.

He noted that Whelan has no previous convictions, is an extremely hard worker and is thought of highly by his employer.

Whelan’s employer had travelled from England for the sentence hearing last week to support him and informed the court that there is a job open to Whelan in the future.

Mr Justice Carney suspended the entire term on the condition that the Whelan keep away from the victim and be of good behaviour for three years.

Garda Damien Ryan told prosecuting counsel Pauline Walley SC that Whelan was in a long term relationship with Ms Kay but it had broken up on New Year’s Eve in 2008.

They were in regular contact with each other as Ms Kay was paying back €100 a week on a credit card bill she owed Whelan.

Ms Kay told gardai she was home alone on March 6, 2009 when she woke up to find Whelan in her house and that he attacked her.

Whelan later admitted to gardai there was a “physical scuffle” but that Ms Kay had “lashed out” at him and he “probably pushed her away.”

Ms Kay was brought to Waterford General Hospital where she was treated for bruising to her shoulders, upper back, chest area and a graze to the side of her face

In her victim impact statement she said Whelan had “come into my house and viciously verbally and physically abused me. I was in physical pain for a week and unable to return to work for a month.”

She said she has now made her house into a fortress with a high fence around it and locks on all the doors and windows.

“I can’t stand being in crowds and I can’t stand people behind me,” she continued in her report.

She said she had to take anxiety medication for eight months after the incident and suffers panic attacks.

Defence counsel Isobel Kennedy, SC said Whelan admitted a physical altercation had taken place over bills and that Ms Kay had lashed out first and he pushed her away.

“He has since apologised via text messages,” said Ms Kennedy.

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