****Reader discretion is advised****
A MAN who repeatedly stabbed and savagely beat his heavily-pregnant partner has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Imposing sentence, Judge Tom O’Donnell said what happened was a “very serious case of domestic abuse” which was at the higher end of the spectrum.
He added that any sentence imposed by the court had to mark “society's strong condemnation of such behaviour” and send out a “clear message of deterrence”.
Details of the incident which occurred at a house in the city last Easter were revealed earlier this month after the man pleaded guilty to several charges.
Garda Shane O’Neill told Limerick Circuit Court the woman sustained multiple injuries during the prolonged attack which lasted for around 20 minutes.
He said the couple were socialising with a number of friends at their home when the defendant, who is originally from East Limerick, suddenly became violent and aggressive shortly before 1am.
Gardai were alerted by the women’s friends who became concerned for her safety when they were told to leave the house by the defendant.
The defendant, now aged 22, made some admissions at the scene and again during interview following his arrest.
Garda O’Neill said the man stabbed the woman several times with a “large kitchen knife” and that he savagely beat her in a number of different rooms in the house.
He told Lilly Buckley BL, prosecuting, that at one point he pushed the woman’s head onto the toilet and repeatedly banged the seat cover off her.
He added that when she tried to flee the house, she was “dragged by the feet” back inside where he held another knife against her throat and “pressed it into her neck”.
The garda agreed with barrister Jack Nicholas, defending, that the defendant “didn't hold back” in his admissions and that he stated during interview that he had “acted like an animal” and could have killed his partner who was eight months pregnant at the time.
Mr Nicholas said his client, who has no previous convictions, had consumed a lot of alcohol and that he became paranoid as he believed his partner was talking about him to her friend behind his back.
He said the defendant, who was working full-time prior to the incident is ashamed of himself and understands the gravity of what he did.
“He started getting ideas in his head, he became very, very angry and he lost control of himself,” he said.
Opening a number of medical reports to the court, he said his client has difficulty controlling his emotions and that his life started to go “off the rails” when he began using hard drugs to cope with everyday stress.
Imposing sentence, Judge Tom O’Donnell said the level of control exerted by the defendant over the woman was an aggravating factor as was his high level of culpability.
He accepted the defendant suffers from a medical condition which affects his ability to control his emotions but said he was concerned that incidents occurred even though he is aware of the condition and its triggers. He noted the progress he has made since the incident and that the fact that he has no previous conviction.
He imposed a four year sentence, suspending the final 18 months. The judge directed that the name of the defendant not be published in order to protect the identity of the victim and her baby.