Wednesday 21 February 2018

Woman 'attempted to escape and get attention of neighbour' during prolonged air freshener can attack

Central Criminal Court
Central Criminal Court

Isabel Hayes

A man who assaulted a woman with an air freshener can during a prolonged assault, leaving her covered in bruises, has been jailed for three-and-a-half years, with the final six months suspended.

The 48-year-old Dublin man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to the woman at an apartment in Rathmines, Dublin on April 16, 2012.

He was also initially charged with raping the woman, but that charge was dropped.

Sentencing the man at the Central Criminal Court today Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said the man and woman were acquaintances who occasionally met up to use heroin together.

On the day in question, they were together in her flat when the man started hitting her with various implements, including an air freshener can.

“She attempted to escape and get the attention of a neighbouring tenant, but failed to do so,” Mr Justice McCarthy said.

The judge said the woman was left with extensive bruising in the wake of the assault, with bruises to her thighs, abdomen, lower spine and arms.

“These extensive bruises indicate the high level of violence and the length of the assault,” the judge said.

In a victim impact statement tendered to the court, the woman said she was now homeless as a result of the assault, as she said she couldn't bear to stay in her apartment any longer. She said she had worked hard to get that home, which had now been taken from her.

“She said it wasn't a palace, but it was her home,” Mr Justice McCarthy said.

The court heard the woman had suffered “significant psychiatric difficulties” in the wake of the assault, her drug and alcohol problems had intensified and she continued to have panic attacks.

Mr Justice McCarthy said the man had 12 previous convictions, including one for attempted rape.

“He has a disposal to violence and a disposal to violence against women,” the judge said.

The judge noted the man had since “turned his life around” and stopped using drugs and alcohol. He was now in a relationship and had a child. However, the judge noted the assault offence was “at the most serious end of the scale”.

“There will be cases where a person has reformed himself but the seriousness of the offence intrinsically means a custodial sentence of significance must still hold,” he said.

The judge sentenced the man to three-and-a-half years' imprisonment and suspended the final six months.

He backdated the sentence to July 2012, allowing for time already served, meaning the man is now eligible for release, taking into account time he has already served in prison.

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