Thursday 22 August 2019

Victim criticises lenient sentence as 'menace to society' is jailed for brutal attack

Battered face: Amanda Donegan at Cork court. PHOTOS: MICHAEL MACSWEENEY/PROVISION
Battered face: Amanda Donegan at Cork court. PHOTOS: MICHAEL MACSWEENEY/PROVISION
Battered face: Amanda Donegan's injuries from the attack. PHOTOS: MICHAEL MACSWEENEY/PROVISION
Anthony Quigley dragged his victim out of her car in the attack PHOTOS: MICHAEL MACSWEENEY/PROVISION

Olivia Kelleher

A woman motorist who was dragged from her car and beaten in a savage assault has hit out at the justice system after her attacker was jailed for two years.

Anthony Quigley, of Roches Heights in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, was convicted earlier this year of an attack during which Amanda Donegan feared for her life. Quigley (45) was handed a four-year sentence with the final two years suspended for the assault on February 5, 2018.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard he sustained a brain injury in a crash 19 years ago which has left him cognitively impaired and prone to impulsivity.

Speaking after the sentencing, Ms Donegan admitted she was devastated by what she perceived as the leniency of the sentence.

"Having a head injury does not give him the right to give other people head injuries. I actually think that man is evil," she said.

"Even sitting there today made me want to be sick. I feel danger all around me. I used to be a strong capable person.

"Sometimes I can't even go out of a house. Walking down the street frightens me. There is not enough done for people like him [with brain injuries] or people like me."

Ms Donegan said she thought she was going to die during the attack.

"If I hadn't moved my head when I did he would have got me in the temple and killed me. He started hitting through the car window because I was reversing. It was a fight for my life."

Ms Donegan previously told the court she was parking her car on Lower Cork Street in Mitchelstown when Quigley approached her and started shouting swear words at her in the window.

She said Quigley lunged forward and assaulted her through the car window. She heard a "weird noise" and blood shot forward from her face.

She told the court she couldn't believe what had happened to her and that there was no lead up to the incident.

"He knocked me over on to my dog [which was on the seat next to her].

"[Quigley] was in the car on top of me and he was beating me and dragging me. He was smothering me. He said he would 'f**king kill me'. I thought he was going to break my neck."

Ms Donegan stated in evidence she feared for her life after Quigley dragged her from her vehicle. She said he put his hand over her mouth and she bit him trying to get him off her. She also got a spanner from the car in a bid to defend herself.

She stated Quigley was stamping on her hands and onlookers intervened and came to her assistance. She claimed she could hardly see and primarily she was concentrating on "trying not to be killed".

Quigley was found guilty of assault causing harm to Ms Donegan and engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour towards her.

In his memorandum of interview with gardaí he said Ms Donegan had shouted at him calling him a "paedophile".

In the course of the sentencing hearing Judge Gerard O'Brien was told Quigley had 56 previous convictions, 26 of which were against woman.

Garda Denise Fitzgerald said one of the convictions involved a sexual assault on a 12-year-old female. Mr Quigley has convictions for attacks on women and men, for harassment and for making hoax telephone calls and messages of an explicit nature. He also has a conviction for assaulting a mother and daughter in Mitchelstown.

Barrister Niamh O'Donnabhain said her client incurred brain damage in a car crash 19 years ago. He was in a coma for 27 days and has been cared for by his elderly parents since the incident. He does not work and receives no neurological supports.

Judge Gerard O'Brien described Quigley as being a "menace" to society. He commended Ms Donegan for her eloquence in her victim impact statement which was furnished to the courts.

Emphasising the accused was "not getting off", he jailed Quigley to four years in custody with the last two years suspended.

He was also sentenced to a further three years with the last 18 months suspended in a separate case yesterday.

Quigley was found guilty earlier this year of harassing four teenage girls on a bus, telling them racist and sexist jokes before sexually assaulting one of them.

He had pleaded not guilty to a charge of sexual assault, to four charges of harassment, a single charge of assault and one of threatening and abusive behaviour on December 4, 2018.

A jury of four women and eight men found Quigley guilty on all seven counts on the indictment.

Irish Independent

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