'I hope God will forgive you - but I cannot' - victim who required nine hours of emergency surgery
A MAN who stabbed two women and a ten-year-old boy in their own home last Christmas, with the 47-year-old mother requiring nine hours of emergency surgery, was jailed for 10 years.
Thomas O'Sullivan (54) was jailed as a judge warned that his actions could easily have had tragic consequences.
O'Sullivan was jailed for 12 years, with two suspended, by Judge Sean O'Donnabháin at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
"This was a determined and vicious attack," the judge warned.
He said it was shocking that the mother and children should have faced such a violent attack in their own home just days before Christmas.
The judge added it was apparent that a long-standing grudge O'Sullivan had borne towards the family because of an alleged incident a number of years earlier had been allowed to fester until it had apparently "boiled up out of control."
The defendant, with an address at Silvercourt, Silversprings, Cork, was convicted of three counts of assault causing serious harm on December 23 last.
O'Sullivan was first charged before Cork District Court on Christmas Eve and appeared before the Circuit Criminal Court on guilty pleas.
The court was told three people were left injured after O'Sullivan broke into a property in Cork on the evening of December 23 and assaulted a 47 year old woman, her 20 year old daughter and her ten year old son.
O'Sullivan was wearing a balaclava and, on gaining entry to the property, went to the mother's bedroom.
The family had earlier been making preparations for Christmas and festivities they had planned for the following day, Christmas Eve.
On approaching the mother's bedroom, he was confronted by the 47 year old woman.
O'Sullivan had a knife bound to his wrist and proceeded to stab the mother in the chest after threatening to kill her.
The woman's children - a 20 year old girl and a ten year old boy - heard the woman's desperate shouts for help and bravely ran to her aid.
The little boy pleaded with the intruder not to hurt his mother before being stabbed himself.
Both children suffered stab and slash type injuries as they battled to help their mother.
All three managed to escape from the intruder and rang the Gardaí to raise the alarm.
The mother and children were treated in Cork University Hospital (CUH) for stab injuries on December 23.
The 47 year old woman had to undergo nine hours of emergency surgery and was in a critical condition before recovering.
Both the 20 year old woman and ten year old boy also underwent surgery for non-life threatening injuries.
In a victim impact statement, the mother said she feared for her life that night with the intruder wearing the knife tied to his wrist "like a charm bracelet."
"He kept repeating: 'I am going to kill you.' My son came into the room and was screaming: 'Please, please stranger leave my Mommy alone.' But he stabbed both my son and my daughter badly - I thought we were all killed," she said.
"I told my daughter to run to the neighbours and get help - she still feels bad about leaving me.
"I had a nine-and-a-half hour surgery and was left in a bad way because of the loss of blood. We have recovered somewhat - the physical scars on all three of us remain visible but the emotional scars are worst of all.
"(He) stole our most precious memories from us - we live in a lovely area with lovely neighbours, all of whom have been very good to us but home feels different now.
"It is so hard for anyone to imagine how you would have planned and
intended to cause me and my family such harm, leaving me almost dead. You intended to do this - you came prepared. I hope God will forgive you - but I cannot," the mother said.
Judge O'Donnabháin imposed a 12 year prison sentence but agreed to suspend the final two years in light of O'Sullivan's plea and remorse.