A PENSIONER has gone on trial for assaulting his elderly female housemate with a hammer, allegedly causing her serious harm.
Garnet Orange, prosecuting, said in his opening speech that the jury must decide whether the injuries inflicted by Edward McCormack (70) risked Ms Mary Brophy's life.
He said the law's definition of serious harm is any injury which creates a substantial risk of death, disfigurement or loss of bodily function.
Colman Fitzgerald, defending, told the jury that his client had already pleaded guilty to assault causing harm.
McCormack, a Scottish native of Connawood Drive, Old Connacht Avenue, Bray, has pleaded not guilty to assaulting Ms Brophy (69) with a hammer, causing her serious harm, at their home on August 31, 2008.
Ms Brophy told Mr Orange that she'd known McCormack while she lived in England and that he had decided to live with her when she moved back to Ireland after her husband's death.
She said they got on "well enough" as house companions but that he had become "quarrelsome" with drink, especially whiskey.
Ms Brophy said that she had called gardai the night before the assault because her housemate kicked her in the stomach during a row.
She said McCormack came into her room with a hammer the following morning after she had declined his offer of tea in bed, and hit her three times on the head.
Ms Brophy said her housemate told her: "You've had it. You won't bring the police for me again," before throwing her across her bed and slapping her face with his shoe.
She said he hit her twice on the side of her head with the hammer and once from behind.
Ms Brophy said she still couldn't say how she managed to escape the attack and lock herself in the bathroom, where she believed she lost consciousness for some time. She recalled being frightened to leave the room in case McCormack was hiding in the house, but eventually she left through her conservatory door after noticing it open when she looked out the window.
She said a neighbour found her outside, called her daughter and discovered her phone book, mobile phone and housekeys missing from her home.
A surgeon in St Columcille's Hospital, Loughlinstown, told Mr Orange that Ms Brophy was transferred briefly to Beaumont Hospital after he discovered depressed fractures and multiple scalp lacerations on the elderly lady's head.
The doctor said there was no haemorrhaging, no pools of new blood around Ms Brophy's brain but that there was air between bone and brain.
Ms Brophy was transferred to Beaumont Hospital, Dublin's centre for neurology, but returned within hours to St Columcille's. She had been fully conscious on arrival, needed no surgery for her injuries and had only one outpatient appointment following her discharge, the court heard.
The trial continues.