Sunday 19 November 2017

Victim of 'vicious' knife attack from ex tells court: 'How could I have known he was capable of doing such gruesome things?'

Rose Kenny said her life can be categorised into 'before the attempted murder' on her and her life 'after it'

Rose Kenny (right) leaving court with her daughter Jamie (left)
Rose Kenny (right) leaving court with her daughter Jamie (left)
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A Dublin mother who was brutally stabbed and left and die by her former partner outside her city home has today told how she feared if she closed her eyes after the attack she would die.

Rose Kenny (51) was walking from her home at School Street Flats in Dublin 8 on September 23 2014 when she was savagely attacked and stabbed multiple times in the body, neck and throat.

She underwent emergency life-saving surgery in St James’s Hospital and is still recovering from her physical and mental scars.

Last June Rose’s former partner Denis Leahy (50) of Queen Street in Dublin 7, pleaded guilty to her attempted murder.

He was due to be sentenced today but Judge Paul Butler adjourned the matter until next Thursday after hearing a victim impact statement from Rose and submissions put forward on behalf on Leahy.

Rose Kenny walked behind Leahy in the Central Criminal Court today and took her seat near the judge to deliver her statement of how the attack has changed her life forever.

Bravely, and with emotion, she read out how her life had been normal until September 23 2014.

“I always had a carefree spirit that my family and friends enjoyed. I never gave a second thought to stepping outside my house and just got on with my normal day to day activities. I tried to be a good mother, a good daughter, a good sister and generally just to be a good person,” she said.

Victim Rose Kenny (51) leaving court with family and friends after Denis Leahy has pleaded guilty to attempting to murder her at School Street Flats, Dublin 8 in September, 2014. Photo: Courtpix
Victim Rose Kenny (51) leaving court with family and friends after Denis Leahy has pleaded guilty to attempting to murder her at School Street Flats, Dublin 8 in September, 2014. Photo: Courtpix

“Now my life is in two segments. My life before the attempted murder on me and my life after it”.

“I was attacked that morning by a man that I didn't recognise as being Denis Leahy, a man that I had shared many years with as my partner.

“Although I'm the victim here. I have to live with the guilt I feel of how I brought this man into my life and without knowing that I put my life and that of my daughter and family and friends life in danger.

“How could I have known that he was capable of doing such gruesome things to another human being. Every day I ask myself how could I of been such a bad judge of character,” she added.

“I never lost consciousness until I got to the hospital. I knew if I closed my eyes I would never open them again.

“Denis Leahy left me in hospital for seven weeks with horrendous injuries, for four of them weeks I couldn't even swallow my saliva and had to have suction tube in my hands at all times. I couldn't walk, talk or swallow and was totally dependent on others,” Rose explained.

“I had my sister Jeanette and my beautiful daughter Jamie sleep with me all night in the hospital for the first week as I was so sure I was going to die. I spent 12 hours in surgery the day of the attack.”

“My back, abdomen, chest and neck are destroyed with stab wounds but these can be hidden.

“But what I can't hide is my horrible gravelly voice, it embarrasses me when I speak and especially when strangers in shops that are serving me ask was I out singing last night. How I wish that was the case,” she added.

Rose said she was never able to return to the home or community she had lived in for 22 years, but instead moved in with her 80-year-old mother who had to learn how to dress and plug her wounds.

“I just feel so broken. I don't trust the world in the same way that I always had. I'm always in a state of anxiety for both myself and my family. I fight these feelings every day but some days I just want to curl up and stay in bed,” said Rose with emotion.

“I now have a new flat where I had to start from scratch. I'm waiting to get speech therapy and then with the help of my counsellor I hope to return to work next year. I know I will never be the carefree easy going woman that I was before Denis Leahy tried to murder me but will try very hard to get as near as possible to being that person again.

“After trying his best to murder me and leaving me so damaged he still has shown no remorse for what he did,” she added.

Counsel for Leahy asked that his guilty plea be taken into consideration, and expressed sorrow for his actions on his behalf.

Sentencing will occur next Thursday.

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