Wednesday 18 September 2019

Man who attacked pregnant wife for burning pizza loses appeal

Susan Walmsley pictured speaking outside Dublin Circuit Courts Photo: Collins Courts
Susan Walmsley pictured speaking outside Dublin Circuit Courts Photo: Collins Courts

Ruaidhrí Giblin

A man who attacked his pregnant wife for burning a pizza, a day after she had gotten a job, has lost an appeal against the severity of his three-year prison sentence.

Afghan national Muhammed Tajik (28), of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Susan Wombsley at a flat on Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin on December 8, 2015.

The Court of Appeal heard that on the day of the assault, Tajik was said to have been “simmering” with anger for a number of matters, particularly because his wife had just obtained employment but also because she had burned a pizza.

Garda John Freeney told prosecuting lawyers that Tajik “grabbed Ms Wombsley’s neck from behind, punching her in the head and face until she passed out”. She was knocked unconscious and suffered a broken jaw on both sides.

Sentencing him to three years imprisonment, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said Ms Wombsley had “fallen into the hands of a man of a very violent disposition”.

The Court of Appeal upheld his sentence today with the three-judge court unable to identify an error in principle.

Giving judgment, Mr Justice John Edwards said the couple met online and got married in Turkey in August 2015. They subsequently moved to Dublin and were encountering financial difficulties, occasionally sleeping in Ms Wombsley’s car in spots around Dublin.

Before the night in question, she had obtained employment, which was the cause of “some dispute”, the judge said.

Following the assault, Tajik sent a number of messages to Ms Wombsley apologising for the assault and expressing remorse.

He was arrested at Terminal 2 of Dublin Airport and denied any responsibility for the attack until presented with the messages.

Counsel for Tajik, Patrick Gageby SC, said Tajik had left Afghanistan as a refugee, lived in Iran for a while and then Turkey. He had “never been in trouble before or since” the assault, counsel said.

Mr Gageby further submitted that the trial judge attached too little weight to the fact Tajik had formed a new relationship and his new girlfriend was expecting a baby. He said no accused should “shelter behind” a new relationship, but it indicated his client’s “rehabilitation and stability”, in his submission.

Mr Justice Edwards said Tajik had no family with him in Ireland and had become involved with the Church of Latter-day Saints.

Members of the Church submitted testimonials on his behalf, including a volunteer who said Tajik had come through “many challenging times” in his life but had undergone a “considerable change in his behaviour”.

Mr Justice Edwards, who sat with President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, said no error could be found and the appeal was therefore dismissed.

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