A TRANSWOMAN who was attacked and robbed by a man who threatened to slit her throat moved out of Limerick as a result of the incident, a court has heard.
Dean Hehir, aged 35, of no fixed abode pleaded guilty to multiple charges relating to a number of offences which happened on the evening of January 16, 2017.
Limerick Circuit Court was told the most serious of the offences happened in the Castletroy area of the city shortly before 11pm.
Detective Garda Donnacha Coakley said the victim, now aged 21, was walking at Plassey Road when the defendant approached her and asked for a “few pulls” of her cigarette.
Hehir, who has more than 70 previous convictions, gave a false name and claimed he was from Adare before asking for directions to the nearest bus stop.
While walking to the bus stop, he grabbed the woman by her arm and pulled out a knife.
“He said he would slit her throat,” Det Garda Coakley told John O’Sullivan, prosecuting.
After Hehir attempted to stab the woman, a scuffle ensued and she attempted to run away.
However, he followed her and told her it was “her time to die”.
The woman, who sustained a cut to her forearm, managed to escape and ran to a nearby house where she raised the alarm.
A car which was seen leaving the area at speed was subsequently located and the defendant arrested a number of months later.
Det Garda Coakley said he made “full and frank” admissions and that the victims phone was recovered.
In a victim impact statement, the woman said she still sees the defendant’s face “coming towards me” and that her level of trust in people has reduced.
She said she struggled to sleep for months following the incident and was later diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“I was badly bruised and scarred mentally,” she wrote adding that her decision to move away from Limerick did help.
Brian McInerney BL, said his client was “shocked and taken aback” when informed, by gardai, that the victim was a young woman.
He said Hehir suffers from a severe addiction and that he is easy to deal with sober.
He submitted his client’s admissions were vital and that with them there would not have been a case against him.
He said Hehir, who is currently serving a lengthy prison for a separate offence, is remorseful and is making efforts to rehabilitate himself in prison.
Imposing sentence, Judge Tom O’Donnell said what happened was terrifying for the woman who had suffered “serious psychological fallout”.
He said the deliberate targeting of a woman walking alone late at night was an aggravating factor as was the use of a weapon and the inflicting of an injury.
He imposed a six year prison sentence, suspending the final two and-a-half years.
The sentence is to be served consecutively to a three year sentence which Hehir received for a separate offence last year.
The judge commented that he hopes the victim will be able to put her ordeal behind her and return to Limerick in the future.