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Tuesday 23 January 2018

Mother feared she would die when ex brutally stabbed her

Rose Kenny (centre) is surrounded by family and friends as she leaves the Central Criminal Court. Photo: Collins Courts
Rose Kenny (centre) is surrounded by family and friends as she leaves the Central Criminal Court. Photo: Collins Courts
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A Dublin mother who was brutally stabbed and left to die by her former partner outside her home said she has to "live with the guilt" that she brought this man into her life.

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

She had 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 yesterday 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.

Ms Kenny bravely read out a victim-impact statement about how her life had been normal until September 23, 2014.

Denis Leahy
Denis Leahy

"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.

"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 have been such a bad judge of character."

Ms Kenny said that immediately after the attack she never lost consciousness until she reached the hospital.

"I knew if I closed my eyes I would never open them again," she said. "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 a suction tube in my hands at all times. I couldn't walk, talk or swallow and was totally dependent on others.

"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."

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 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 easygoing 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."

Irish Independent

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