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Thursday 23 March 2017

'I'm just glad it's over', says woman as ex who stabbed her repeatedly gets 9 years

Patrick O'Rourke
Patrick O'Rourke

A 63-year-old man, who tried to murder his partner by repeatedly stabbing her after she told him she no longer wanted to be with him and planned to leave, has been jailed for nine years.

Patrick O'Rourke, of Cooline Drive, Ballyvaloon, Cobh, Co Cork, pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Donna Foster at Cooline Drive on August 11, 2015. He also pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to a minor at the same address on the same date.

Yesterday at the Central Criminal Court, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy imposed a nine-year sentence on O'Rourke and backdated it to when he went into custody on the day of the attack.

He also sentenced O'Rourke to three-and-a-half years for the charge of assault causing harm to a minor, to run concurrently.

Serious

Before handing down sentence, Mr Justice McCarthy said it was clear that this was "an extremely serious attack" by O'Rourke on his former partner.

"They were still living together and had been together for 15 years," he said.

The judge said there was no evidence of violence during their relationship but arguments arose as their relationship came to an end.

"Ms Foster was entitled to bring that relationship to an end and any possible adverse reaction by her partner must be regarded as beyond comprehension," he said.

Mr Justice McCarthy said Ms Foster suffered a number of serious wounds when the defendant stabbed her with a boning knife and she was "obviously extremely fearful and distressed".

The judge referred to Dr Emmet Andrew's medical report where he outlined that Ms Foster had received "two particularly serious lacerations" and it was miraculous that she was not injured more severely.

The judge also referred to the minor who was in the house at the time and witnessed "the horrific event" which caused "grave distress" on her part.

"It seems there was a laceration across the palm of her right hand when she was intervening to protect Ms Foster and also a superficial abrasion to her left palm. This is a significant injury which has left her with significant challenges and limited movement," he said.

Referring to Ms Foster's victim impact statement, Mr Justice McCarthy said: "She truly and honestly believed she was going to die. She states she is grateful for having survived and now has a different perspective on life."

The court heard that it was accepted in evidence that the accused was described by gardai as "very co-operative" and he had difficulty coming to terms with what he had done but claimed responsibility for the attack.

The judge said that, while the evidence against O'Rourke is "very strong", he has been described as contributing positively to prison and is a well-behaved prisoner.

Mr Justice McCarthy said it was still a mitigating factor that O'Rourke pleaded guilty at the very end of the legal process.

Remorse

The judge said he had taken into account O'Rourke's previous good character, his age, as well as behaving well in prison.

"The remorse is in good faith and he read out an apology from the witness box," he said.

Speaking outside the Central Criminal Court yesterday, Ms Foster said: "I'm just happy it is all over and now myself and the girls can just draw a line under it and move on with our lives. I'm feeling OK. I had a make-up artistry business and that's gone as I now can't do the work I was doing with the injuries I have."

Her father, Harry Foster, said: "At least he is paying for what he did."

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