'Stalker' who followed garda's wife and assaulted her on her own doorstep jailed
A man who hit a garda's wife in the face after following her home has been jailed for 15 months.
Shane Balfe (31) was seen "stalking" the woman as she got her keys out at the entrance to her apartment block, then slapped her across the face when she confronted him.
Her husband, a detective garda, heard her screams and jumped out of bed to come to her help, then alerted officers on duty nearby, Dublin District Court heard.
Jailing Balfe, Judge Michael Walsh said the "nasty and vicious" attack had an "appalling" effect on the victim.
Balfe, from Basin Grove, Basin Lane, in the south inner city, pleaded guilty to assault and other offences.
The court heard that gardaí were on duty at Bonham Street, Dublin 8, at 4.30am on December 20, 2015, when the victim's partner, an off-duty garda, alerted them to the incident.
He told them that his partner was upset and needed help.
She said the accused had slapped her across the face minutes earlier, explaining she had been entering her apartment block when she noticed him trying to walk in behind her.
She challenged him and he struck her across the face.
Judge Walsh referred to a victim impact statement, saying the woman had been out with friends and when she walked to the entrance of her apartment complex and took her key out of her pocket, she was accosted by Balfe.
She screamed for help and fortunately her husband heard her cries, jumped out of bed and ran down to her assistance.
The victim had collapsed in fear and distress and Balfe was abusive and threatening.
CCTV showed him "stalking" the victim, following her along the street, Judge Walsh said.
The assault had a "devastating" effect on the woman's personal life and she had to move from her home of eight years.
"It illustrates how vulnerable members of society are at risk from certain individuals who, it seems to me, have lost all sense of decency and act in a manner which wreaks havoc and causes harm and upset to ordinary, law-abiding members of society," the judge said.
It was a "very nasty, vicious and vulgar attack" and the accused was lucky he was not facing more serious charges, he added.
Judge Walsh imposed a series of sentences totalling 15 months on Balfe, who had more than 60 previous convictions.