'Tonight is your execution' - taunts of man (38) who beat former partner in vicious assault
A MAN kicked and punched his partner in a vicious assault at his Dublin home while telling her “tonight is your execution”, a court has heard.
Barry O’Donoghue (38) will be sentenced next week for assault, causing harm and threatening to kill Kerrie Gamble at his Drimnagh home between October 20 and 21, 2016, after being found guilty at a trial in February.
Yesterday, Dublin Circuit Court heard evidence how O’Donoghue pulled the woman back into the house following an argument at the property and proceeded to assault her.
During a prolonged attack the court heard that:
- O’Donoghue kicked his partner in the head as she was curled up in a ball on the floor.
- He told her “tonight is your execution” and that she could choose how she wanted her life to end.
- Ms Gamble, who believed she was going to die, fears O’Donoghue will follow through with his threat when he is released from prison.
The court was also told that Ms Gamble had to have surgery on her eye and have an eyeball pulled forward to match her other eye due to the force used in the attack.
O’Donoghue, of Mourne Road, Drimnagh, but originally from Carlow, told her he had planned the attack and that she was going to die.
Gda Keith O’Brien, of Sundrive Road Garda Station, gave evidence that at around 6.30pm on October 20, 2016, O’Donoghue arrived at the house on Mourne Road and a confrontation took place.
He started to punch Ms Gamble at the bottom of the stairs and shouted that she was “only ever evil” to him.
O’Donoghue then picked her up and took her into the kitchen where he continued punching and kicking her.
Gda O’Brien said a neighbour made contact and “there was a stay in the ordeal”.
O’Donoghue left the address for a short period, and Ronan Prendergast, prosecuting, said “it was suggested in evidence she was locked in the shed and afraid to leave”.
O’Donoghue then returned to the house and told Ms Gamble “tonight is your execution” and made references to how this would be carried out.
“He was asking Ms Gamble if she would wish to be shot and in respect of what size gun and in respect of what ammunition would be used,” Gda O’Brien told the court.
While issuing the threats, O’Donoghue was holding a bread knife and a tea towel, which the court heard made the threats to kill “credible”.
The attack then continued, and O’Donoghue began punching and kicking Ms Gamble, while also assaulting her with a dessert spoon and a paper towel dispenser.
On October 24, 2016, O’Donoghue was arrested and questioned over the assault, but he continued to deny he had intentionally assaulted Ms Gamble.
A letter of apology was yesterday handed into the court, which was read by Ms Gamble, who said: “I don’t buy it.”
In her victim impact statement, she described how she fears O’Donoghue will follow through on his threats when he is released from prison.
“I consider the night of October 20 as the night I should have died and I genuinely don’t know how I made it out alive that night,” Ms Gamble told the court.
“I live in great fear of his revenge on me for bringing it this far.
“I do not believe he will let go of his plan to get back at me. I never see myself free from looking over my shoulder because of him.”
She described the extensive physical damage from the assault, which left her with two black eyes, nerve damage to the left side of her face and requiring surgery to unblock an eye muscle.
Ms Gamble also needed to have an eyeball pulled forward to match the other, as it had gone in due to the force used in the attack.
She described how crowds now made her panic, and she believes people could be after her on behalf of O’Donoghue.
She said she had a recurring nightmare in which she saw her gravestone with the date October 20, which then disappears and she hears O’Donoghue’s voice telling her he would bury her where no one would find her.
After hearing evidence, Judge Elma Sheahan adjourned the sentencing until next Friday.
The maximum sentence for assault is a prison term of five years, while the maximum sentence for threatening to kill is 10 years.
At his trial in February, a jury found O’Donoghue guilty of assault causing harm and threatening to kill Ms Gamble at his home in October 2016.
He was found not guilty of two further charges of false imprisonment and making threats to kill on the same date.
O’Donoghue has been held at Cloverhill Prison since being found guilty after his bail was revoked.
He had no previous convictions, and Gda O’Brien said that two charges relating to a search of his home had been dropped.
These, the court heard, were linked to the incident in October 2016.
Breffni Gordon, defending, said his client came from an “impeccable background” in his early years.
He said the court could infer this would be O’Donoghue’s “last offence” due to his age and his lack of any previous convictions.
Mr Gordon told the court that O’Donoghue had expressed that he was ashamed of his behaviour and that it became public.
“At the trial of this offence, Mr O’Donoghue approached the situation by robustly defending his position, to a point where Ms Gamble had to give evidence,” Mr Gordon said.
“She was forced to relive the events of this particular night and that, in a sense, judge, contrasts with his position today.”