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Longer sentence for thug who left woman in coma

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Paul McMenamy

Paul McMenamy

Nicola Murray

Nicola Murray

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Paul McMenamy

A MAN who assaulted his girlfriend, rang an ambulance and then "changed his mind" has had his five-year jail term increased to eight by the Court of Appeal.

Paul McMenamy (31), of Killinarden, Tallaght, Dublin 24, pleaded guilty to assault causing serious harm to Nicola Murray at Reuben Walk, Rialto, on February 5, 2012.

He was sentenced to six years' imprisonment with the final year suspended by Judge Mary Ellen Ring at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on December 12, 2013.

In finding that McMenamy's sentence was unduly lenient, President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice Sean Ryan said there were two serious aggravating factors of the case.

They were McMenamy's previous convictions for similar offences and his "callous disregard for the health of the injured Ms Murray in the aftermath of the attack".

In those circumstances, the Court of Appeal imposed a new sentence on McMenamy of 10 years' imprisonment with the final two suspended.

Mr Justice Ryan said McMenamy inflicted "very serious injuries" on Ms Murray, his then girlfriend.

He said McMenamy and Ms Murray were living together, there were two little boys in the house on the night in question and the episode lasted a sufficient amount of time that it was noticed by neighbours.

Ms Murray was left in a comatose or semi-comatose state, Mr Justice Ryan said. It occurred to McMenamy to ring an ambulance; he did so and "apparently changed his mind".

It was clear she was in grave need of hospital treatment.

She sustained a subdural haematoma, which gave rise to the serious assault charge, Mr Justice Ryan said.

Ms Murray was in hospital for months, Mr Justice Ryan said. She gradually made a recovery but is left with significant long-term conditions.

It wasn't the first time McMenamy had attacked a girlfriend, Mr Justice Ryan said. Two previous victims had been the subjects of an assault by him. One girl on two occasions and another girl on another occasion.

"Once he got a suspended sentence entirely; that didn't stop him from committing the next one."

He then got a jail sentence with part of it suspended but again "that didn't stop him", the judge said.

Counsel for McMenamy made the "telling" point, the judge said, that since there were only two people involved in the episode and Ms Murray was unable to give evidence by reason of her injuries, there was only McMenamy's word as to what happened.

remorse

Ms Biggs emphasised the value of the guilty plea in those circumstances as well as evidence of his remorse.

Mr Justice Ryan, who sat with Mr Justice Gerard Hogan and Mr Justice Peter Kelly, acceded to the Director of Public Prosecutions application and imposed a new sentence.

McMenamy was required to enter into his own bond of €200 to keep the peace, be of good behaviour and that he would place himself under the supervision of the probation service for the suspended portion of his sentence.

When asked if he undertook to be so bound, McMenamy said "yes". He was then returned to prison.

hnews@herald.ie


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