Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Olivia Kelleher

A man who claimed to have no memory of sexually assaulting his partner at knifepoint has been jailed for seven years, with the last 15 months suspended.

A sitting of the Central Criminal Court in Cork previously heard evidence from Garda Muireann Byrne, who said the man in his late 30s carried out the offence in October 2014. He recently pleaded guilty to charges of assault causing harm and sexual assault on his then-partner.

Gda Byrne told Mr Justice Michael McGrath that the accused returned home at 5am on October 25th, 2014, in an intoxicated condition. The following morning, the defendant became extremely angry and an argument broke out between him and his partner, during which he ordered his partner to go to their bedroom.

The court heard he then punched the woman in the face and started tearing off her clothes, leading her to run from the house in fear.

“He dragged her from the front gate up the rocky drive to the house causing her to bleed. He told her, ‘Don’t try and run away from me, I have a knife’,” Gda Byrne said.

The woman was then sexually assaulted at knifepoint.

The accused told his partner that he did not know why he was behaving in this manner and later admitted to her that he knew “he was going to jail” for his actions.

He then threatened to slit his own throat, but the woman managed to calm him down in order to stop him. She later managed to flee the house.

Psychiatric treatment

Afterwards, the accused admitted himself to hospital for psychiatric treatment which he received over the following two months. He subsequently fled to the UK where he was arrested under a European Arrest Warrant.

Gda Byrne read out a victim impact statement on behalf of the woman.

“I will never forget the terrifying day I was attacked in my own home as I begged and screamed for help.

“I didn’t think I would get out alive. I remember the fear and helplessness and the uncertainty about how it would all end for me. I was so glad the children were not in the house at the time,” the statement read.

The woman also thanked gardaí, family, friends and the Support after Crime Services.

Meanwhile, defence barrister Ray Boland SC said his client was “genuinely remorseful”.

“He has no contact with his children now through his own fault.”

Mr Justice McGrath said it was a “very significant assault” and that the impacted party was put through “a very frightening experience.”

Taking the guilty plea, the tragic family background of the defendant and his lack of convictions for previous sexual offences into account, Mr Justice McGrath jailed the man for seven years, suspending the last 15 months of the sentence.

The sentence was backdated to October 2021 when the man first entered custody in relation to the matter.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at, or visit Rape Crisis Help. 

In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112. 

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