Wednesday 21 August 2019

'My scar is a reminder of this vicious attack' - Woman (21) left with life-changing injuries after 'unprovoked' glass assault

Inset: Kayleigh Cullen after being attacked.
Inset: Kayleigh Cullen after being attacked.

Brendan Furlong

A judge has adjourned sentencing of a mother four who had pleaded guilty to an unprovoked glass attack on a 21-year-old woman whose dream of becoming a beauty therapist has been shattered as a result.

Lyndsey Forde, of 35 Hazelwood, Bridgetown, County Wexford, pleaded guilty before Judge Cormac Quinn to assaulting Kayleigh Cullen at the Centenary Stores, Charlotte Street, in Wexford town, on May 10, 2015, causing her harm.

Kayleigh Cullen after being attacked. She was struck on the face with a pint glass by another woman .
Kayleigh Cullen after being attacked. She was struck on the face with a pint glass by another woman .

Kayleigh Cullen in a Victim Impact Statement, which she read before Wexford Circuit Criminal Court today told of been viciously attacked, having a glass smashed into her face, leaving a scar under her left eye and running down her cheek. She said it was an unprovoked, violent act, carried out by Lyndsey Forde for no other reasons, than as she said in her statement "I didn’t know her, I just didn’t like the people she hung around with".

Ms Cullen also said there was no provocation or mistaken identity, just an evil act of violence by someone who taught she could inflict her violent actions on a young person out socialising for the night.

She also said:"It’s been two and half years since that night, that changed my life. I no longer go out, I suffer from anxiety and am nervous in big crowds. I wear that big scar which is noticeable, I get upset when questioned about it, while I have never been offered any apology for the hurt and suffering caused me.  I have been physically, emotionally and mentally scared from this and my doctor says I am suffering from PTSD which is impacting my life as I am struggling to sleep and my weight has severely decreased due to stress.

"Up to August last year all I want was my face to be put back to the way it was before the attack, but after attending Dr. Carroll’s clinic in the Beacon Hospital on August 25, my dream of that was dashed, the scarring to my face is irreparable, the damage is too deep, my face will never be fixed. I am left with the reminder of this vicious attack for the rest of my life.

"My dream of being a beauty therapist is gone. Even the thought of sitting opposite an interview panel and wondering what they think of me with the scar on my face is something I can’t face, my life has been destroyed by someone who didn’t have a thought for anyone except herself on the night."

Prosecuting Garda, Ann Marie Doyle told the court that having viewed CCTV footage it showed Kayleigh Cullen and her boyfriend Matthew Kehoe leaving the Night Club at 1.20a.m., when a female, Lindsay Forde walked towards Ms Cullen and striking her in the face with a glass. Prior to this there had been no interaction. She said that subsequently Ms Forde was arrested. During her interview at Wexford Garda Station she made admissions of being in a bad state as she had a baby some weeks prior to this.

Garda Doyle said that Ms Cullen received lacerations to the left hand side of her face underneath her left eye socket for which she attended A&E at Wexford General Hospital. She also received lacerations on her forehead and left jaw. She had five nylon stitches inserted in the wound.

Lyndsey Forde in evidence apologised to Ms Cullen saying "I’m very sorry Kayleigh, this should not have happened.  I understand the life changing impact it has had on you".

Defence Counsel, Jordan Fletcher, said out of nowhere a glass came flying into the victims face, where in an instance her life has changed while Ms Forde’s life was also changed.

"It was a moment of unprovoked madness," said Mr. Fletcher, adding one cannot take away from the serious nature of the assault.

She is a single woman with four children, three of which live with her, while the fourth lives with her dad.

There is a positive Probation and Welfare report before the court as well as a Psychological report. The reports says she’s a modest risk of reoffending.

Judge Quinn said he is not going to give any indication regarding sentencing. 

"I will adjourn the case to February 21 next to see how the defendant liaises with the Probation and Welfare services and monitor her progress. I also want an up to date report," he said.

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