Saturday 16 December 2017

Woman 'thought attacker who threatened to kill her was going to gouge her eye out' - court hears

Criminal Courts of Justice
Criminal Courts of Justice

Nicola Donnelly

A man who followed a woman home and attacked her before threatening to sexually assault and kill her has been jailed for five years.

James Donoghue (51) told gardai his intention was to sexually assault the woman and not to rob her on the night.

Donoghue of Harold’s Cross Road in Terenure pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attempting to sexually assault her and threatened to kill or cause her serious harm on January 6, 2014.

Judge Martin Nolan suspended the last two years of a seven year prison sentence.

Garda Ciaran Mahoney told Anne-Marie Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that the woman was walking home from work to meet her husband around midnight.

Donoghue walked behind the woman and lunged at her before telling her to turn off her mobile phone or he would kill her.

The defendant covered her eyes and mouth with his hands and hit her in the face. She told gardai she thought he was going to take her eye out but she managed to bite him on the finger before he ran away.

She rang gardai and her husband and was brought to hospital with cuts to her face.

Donoghue was stopped by gardai a short time later. He had bite marks on his hand and had traces of the victim’s DNA on a  ring on his finger along with her blood stains on his jacket.

Donoghue told gardai it was his intention to sexually assault the woman and he said he had taken drink that day. His 13 previous convictions include serious assaults.

The victim said she moved to Ireland in 2011 and since the attack her life has completely changed. She and her husband have decided to return to their home country as the attack has had a huge psychological effect on her.

Defence counsel James Dwyer BL said Donoghue is “aware of the risks he poses to women” and is a person who recognises he has a serious problem.

“He had been on medication to suppress his sexual urges but he ceased taking it due to his own actions,” said Mr Dwyer.

“He started drinking heavily and was off his medication so his inhibitions were released and the victim happened to be the first person he saw,” explained Mr Dwyer. He said that if Donoghue does take his medication he becomes stabilised.

Judge Martin Nolan said Donoghue was out on the prowl and encountered the woman, whom he attacked with the intention of committing sexual assault.

“It was a severe attack which left the woman traumatised,” said Judge Nolan, adding that he believes the defendant is incapable of changing his behaviour.

“He has a serious problem and has engaged with the Probation Services but nonetheless he still committed it,” said Judge Nolan as he handed down the sentence.

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