| 13.2°C Dublin

Man attacked ex in row over credit card bills

A MAN who assaulted his ex-partner following a row over credit card bills is to be sentenced at the Central Criminal Court next week.

Patrick Whelan gained entry to his ex-partner's house using a spare key. He then forced her against a wall, causing injuries to her back and shoulders.

Whelan (45) of O'Connell Street, Dungarvan, Co Waterford, was convicted by a jury last December of assault causing harm to Jennifer Kay at her home in Waterford on March 7, 2009.

Garda Damien Ryan told the court Whelan had been in a long-term relationship with Ms Kay but it had broken up a few months prior. They were in regular contact as Ms Kay was paying back €100 a week on a credit card bill she owed Whelan.

Ms Kay told gardai she was home alone on March 6, 2009 when she woke up to find Whelan in her house. She said he then forced her against a wall and pushed her onto the bed.

She managed to get out of the house through a window and ran to her mother's house at around 4am in a "hysterical" state.

Whelan admitted to gardai a "physical scuffle" took place but claimed that Ms Kay had "lashed out" at him and he "probably pushed her away".

Ms Kay was brought to Waterford General Hospital where she was treated for bruising to her shoulders, upper back, chest area and a graze to the side of her face

In her Victim Impact Statement she said Whelan had "come into my house and viciously verbally and physically abused me. I was in physical pain for a week and unable to return to work for a month".

She said she had now made her house into a fortress with a high fence around it and locks on all the doors and windows.

"I can't stand being in crowds and I can't stand people behind me," she continued.

She said she had to take anxiety medication for eight months after the incident and suffered from panic attacks.

Isobel Kennedy, defending, said Whelan admitted a physical altercation and that Ms Kay had lashed out first and he pushed her away.

"He has since apologised via text messages," she said.

Whelan was remanded on bail for sentencing next week.