Friday 15 December 2017

Three years for man who bit his ex-girlfriend's face

By Jessica Magee

A Dublin man has been jailed for three years for  biting his ex-girlfriend’s face.

Terry Russell (40) of Rafters' Road, Drimnagh, Dublin 12 had been convicted by unanimous verdict of assault causing harm to Elizabeth Gaffney on January 6, 2012.

The father-of-one had pleaded not guilty to the offence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Garda Mícheál Muldoon told Derek Cooney BL, prosecuting, that the accused was no longer in a relationship with Ms Gaffney when the assault took place.

He said they were still texting each other, and that on the night in question Ms Gaffney invited him to the Hilltop Bar on Thomas Street to discuss the ending of their relationship.

After a few drinks, they left the bar and went back to Russell's house in Drimnagh where they continued drinking cans of beer with the his brother.

Russell asked Ms Gaffney if the relationship was definitely over and she replied that it was. He then attacked the woman and bit her under her left eye and on the side of her neck.

He then asked his former girlfriend what man she had been getting phone calls from, grabbed her by the hair and started to bite her on the arm.

The court heard that the victim went to a toilet, rang gardaí and then ran into a downstairs bedroom where she locked herself in and began screaming for help.

Garda Muldoon said when he arrived at the house a few minutes later, the victim was in an “extremely distressed state” and had clear, visible injuries to her face and arms.

Russell jumped over the back wall to get away from him and his garda colleague.

Ms Gaffney went to St James' Hospital for treatment and also went to her GP a few months later.

At that stage, there were still teeth marks and bruising on her left forearm and under her left eye.

Mr Cooney said Ms Gaffney had suffered severe headaches as a result of the assault and also from psychological effects including sleeping difficulties and very low self-esteem. He said she had been afraid to leave home or go to the shops, and had to go to a women's refuge.

Russell has 29 previous convictions including assault, misuse of drugs, burglary, possession of flick knives, criminal damage and public order offences.

He is also contesting an allegation that he threatened and obstructed a garda by brandishing a hatchet.

Defence barrister Brendan Foley BL told the court that his client has a long history of drug abuse, having started by taking solvents at the time of his First Communion.

He said Russell then “graduated” to hash, alcohol, tablets and then heroin, which he has now been battling for about 20 years.

Mr Foley said although his client left school at 12, he has been educating himself in prison and is currently doing a FETAC course, studying Leaving Cert maths and English, doing a Red Cross course and learning guitar.

He said Russell is working as a cleaner in prison while undergoing drug treatment, and intends to be drug-free on his release. Russell has a 20-year-old daughter with whom he is not in contact but he wants to re-establish a relationship with her.

Judge Patrick McCartan said while Russell appears to be a “model prisoner” while in custody, he has a “very bad temper” and that the nature of the assault on his former girlfriend was “vicious”.

“He was simply the dominant one, the bully,” said Judge McCartan.

He sentenced Russell to three years in prison, backdated to September 12, 2012

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