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Sunday 21 October 2018

Pictured: Man who threatened to make former partner's personal photos public after hotel attack

  • Christopher Lenihan was jailed for two years last week
  • Bit and punched his former partner in hotel attack
Christopher Lenihan
Christopher Lenihan
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

THIS is the first picture of Christopher Lenihan, who has been jailed for threatening to make his ex-partner's personal photographs public after she reported him to gardai for savagely assaulting her.

Lenihan (28) was jailed last week after an incident in which he:

* Held Grace Brady down and punched her repeatedly in the head during an attack in a room at the Plaza Hotel, Tallaght in Dublin, on January 13, 2017.

* Pulled her back by grabbing her hair and pulling clumps of it from her head when she tried to get away from him.

* Put his hands over her mouth to try to stop her screaming, leaving her unable to breathe.

* Bit her arm.

Pic shows: Christopher Lenihan
Pic shows: Christopher Lenihan

* Slapped her phone out of her hands and hit her when she tried to call for help.

* Sent a barrage of abusive texts to her after she reported the assault to gardai.

* Threatened to circulate personal photographs of her.

The court heard that the couple had gone to the hotel for the night to mark their four-month anniversary after Lenihan had spent the afternoon drinking.

Ms Brady joined him later and they continued drinking but later that evening Lenihan "flipped" and was "like a mad man". She said he had a terrifying look in his eyes.

She told gardai that the ordeal continued all night and Lenihan acted in a very threatening manner.

The next morning, Lenihan said he was sorry and Ms Brady convinced him to leave the room. She then called hotel staff and gardai came and arrested Lenihan.

Garda Geraldine Ross said that when she met Ms Brady the next day, she saw she had bruising to her face and lips.

She said she also noticed an older, very large bruise on her arm and asked her about this.

Ms Brady said that the previous week the couple were staying at the Redbank House Hotel in Skerries when Lenihan became abusive and insulting to her.

He elbowed her in the bed and got angry, and at one stage he grabbed her arm tightly.

Over the two weeks following the attack at the Plaza Hotel, Lenihan sent around 200 messages to her phone, ranging from apologetic pleading to abusive texts, Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, told the court.

He said that in one message, Lenihan threatened that "photos of a personal nature would be disseminated if matters didn't go his way".

Gda Ross told the court that as well as the texts, there were numerous unanswered calls and emails.

Ms Brady asked Lenihan to stop contacting her but he continued to harass her even after a warning from gardai.

Gardai arrested him at his home at Windmill Court, Kelly's Bay, Skerries, on January 31 and charged him with harassment.

Lenihan subsequently pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and assault causing harm to Ms Brady at the Plaza Hotel on January 13, 2017.

He also admitted harassing her on dates between January 13 and January 31, 2017.

He had one previous conviction from February 2016 for breach of a barring order.

Counsel for Lenihan said he had alcohol abuse issues and could not recall the events of the night but was deeply apologetic for his actions.

Judge Melanie Greally referred to a probation report, which suggested that Lenihan "does not display any level of remorse for his actions" and had "limited insight" into the impact of his offences.

She said the letters of remorse that were handed to her at the sentence hearing "ring hollow".

Judge Greally imposed a three-year sentence, with the final 12 months suspended on condition Lenihan undergoes 18 months probation supervision.

Dangers

Judge Greally said that it was a most serious episode of domestic violence, adding: "I don't accept alcohol for a moment to be a mitigating factor."

The director of the National Women's Council of Ireland, Orla O'Connor, said the case highlighted a number of issues surrounding the dangers for a woman leaving an abusive relationship, which it is hoped new laws will address.

"Where there is already a history of abuse, such as the breaching of a barring order, we need to ensure there are more protections for a person, and an assessment of risk, as well as a need to provide safety for a person leaving a violent or abusive partner," she said.

Herald

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