herald

Wednesday 30 July 2014

I heard a click and felt the cold blade slashing my face

A YOUNG journalist has told of the night she was slashed in the face with a Stanley knife and mugged while she lay in agony on Dublin's O'Connell Street.

Jennifer Bray (24) was the victim of a savage assault on June 25, 2010.

Last month, after a trial at Dublin Circuit Court, the couple who attacked her were sentenced to jail.

Former gangster's moll Ruth Barry (33), of Caledon Road, Eastwall, received seven years with 18 months suspended while her new boyfriend Jonathan O'Brien (31), of Upper Dominick Street was handed a three-year sentence.



Ordeal

Ms Bray recalled the horror ordeal, which started when Barry verbally abused her in McDonald's after she had enjoyed a night out with her cousin and a work colleague.

When the journalist, her cousin Sarah and colleague Neil Callanan left the restaurant, Barry and O'Brien were waiting for her with a group of other thugs and prevented them from getting into a taxi.

The thugs brutally attacked Ms Bray and her cousin but much worse was to come as the altercation escalated.

The journalist recalled today: "I was thrown against a wall by the woman and her boyfriend, who I know now to be Ruth and Jonathan.

"I heard a click, closed my eyes and felt an ice-cold sensation across my face.

"She brought that rusty Stanley blade from the top of my nose, between my eyes, down under my left eye and in a semi-circle down my cheek. It eventually stopped just under my jawline.

"When I opened my eyes, I looked down to see orange liquid pouring over my chest and on to my hands."

Ms Bray then collapsed on the ground and was mugged by Barry, who stole her mobile phone and cash.



Surgery

Gardai arrived at the scene and the two culprits were picked up a short time later. The knife used in the attack was recovered nearby.

Ms Bray required major surgery by a team of experienced surgeons in the Mater Hospital who put stitches in the wound on her face.

The months ahead were very tough for the journalist and she remained anxious about the court case, which finally started in June of this year and was an overwhelming experience for the reporter.

Barry was charged with production of a blade, robbery, recklessly causing serious harm to Ms Bray and assaulting Neil Callanan.

O'Brien was charged with causing serious harm to the woman and production of a knife in O'Connell Street on June 25, 2010. Both fought the charges all the way.

Ms Bray explained: "The defendants were in the dock, just metres to my left.

"They continually met my eyes, smirking occasionally."

After a two-week trial, the couple were convicted and sent to prison.

But the pain goes on for Ms Bray who says she will not return to O'Connell Street because of the "air of menace" it holds.

kfoy@herald.ie

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