Saturday 21 July 2018

'I knew if I didn't get him out he was dead' - Girlfriend says Jamie (22) lured to house and repeatedly stabbed

  • Jessie Connell witnessed the attack on her boyfriend Jamie Hennessy in Kilkenny
  • She dragged him from home and wrapped her coat around his neck to stop bleeding
  • Jessie now vows to bring 'scumbags' who attacked him to court
Scene of the attack in Castlecomer and inset Jamie Hennessy with Jessie Connell
Scene of the attack in Castlecomer and inset Jamie Hennessy with Jessie Connell
Jamie Hennessy with Jessie Connell
Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

The girlfriend of a man left fighting for his life after a violent stabbing has revealed they were lured to a party by men who then launched the vicious assault.

Jessie Connell (20) dragged partner Jamie Hennessy (22) from a house in Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny while two men repeatedly knifed him in the neck and body last Saturday, August 19.

She was hit during the terrifying ordeal but incredibly managed to save Mr Hennessy’s life by wrapping her jacket around his neck and shielding him from the assailants.

Now, in an exclusive interview with Independent.ie, Ms Connell has revealed that she intends to stand up to the “scumbags” who carried out the attack.

Jamie Hennessy
Jamie Hennessy

Describing the moments after the assault Ms Connell said: “We were in a pool of Jamie’s blood.

“Them dogs that did this didn’t even try run from the scene. They’re all a bunch of sick creeps out there.

I’ll stand in court if I have to pin them scumbags to a wall.

Ms Connell said she is still shaking eight days after the incident. She is afraid to return to the accommodation she shares with her boyfriend.

The young woman said she finds it difficult to talk about the events and opts instead to communicate over a messaging service. Despite this she is determined to tell her story in a bid to get “justice for Jamie”.

The young couple visited Mr Hennessy's mother Sandra in Crettyard, Co Laois last Saturday afternoon and were planning to return to their home in Athy, Co Kildare.

Jamie Hennessy
Jamie Hennessy

However they were struggling to get a lift and Ms Connell explained that “meanwhile these boys were ringing Jamie to go out to Castlecomer for a few drinks”.

Not realising that they were in any danger the couple walked the 8km from Crettyard to the house on Love Lane in Castlecomer where they shared a two-litre bottle of cider.

They left to buy more drink and returned some time later.

“Little did we know they were planning on taking Jamie’s life,” she said. “We got back with our drink and sat there, drank a bottle or two and that's when this happened. I never saw so much blood in my life.

They didn’t just stab him they slit his throat and left him to die.

"I pulled Jamie out of the house away from them. There were two attacking him while the other one was trying to help. At one stage I got hit myself but I knew if I didn't get Jamie out he was dead."

She continued: “I got him out of the house wrapped a jacket around his neck to keep the blood in.”

Ms Connell said at that stage there was a group of people around her, “just looking at me and Jamie”.

“I was screaming for help, I lay on the ground with him, talking to him until the ambulance arrived. I was scared.”

She said the men who attacked Jamie didn’t leave the house but others were on the street around them.

Mr Hennessy was taken by ambulance to St Luke’s hospital in Kilkenny city where he was resuscitated twice after his heart stopped beating.

Doctors fought for over 24 hours to stop the bleeding in his neck and Mr Hennessy remains in a critical condition at the Mater Hospital in Dublin this weekend.

Ms Connell, who is still traumatised by the events of last Saturday, has visited him a number of times in the capital and says he is “improving day by day”. Despite this it is a long road ahead for the young Laois man.

Three men were arrested in connection with the stabbing on Saturday but all were subsequently released without charge. Last week Independent.ie revealed that one of these men was previously arrested for the cold case murder of Gerry Nolan while a second man was arrested over the fatal stabbing of Kieran Monahan in 2012.

Gardai are investigating if the attack was in connection with the murder of Mr Nolan whose caravan was set on fire while he was locked inside in 2006.

Gerry Nolan was murdered 11 years ago
Gerry Nolan was murdered 11 years ago

Jamie Hennessy, who was just 11 at the time of that attack, had no involvement in the murder of Gerry Nolan.

Ms Connell insists Saturday's stabbing was in connection to a dispute over a €20 mobile phone.

She explained that Jamie left with this phone, which belonged to an older man, two weeks earlier.

“I don’t know why it turned out like it did over a phone, it’s something that will stay with me forever.”

Asked what she wants to see happen now Ms Connell said, first and foremost, she wants to see an improvement in Mr Hennessy’s condition.

“My heart’s broken looking at him, you wouldn't do it to an animal they destroyed him intentionally.”

She said she can’t understand why the men were released without charge. “I think they’re mad to let them walk free, prison is too good for the likes of these people, absolute dogs.”

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