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Burglar chopped off artist's fingers 'like a butcher' in flat raid

A WOMAN artist "played dead" after a burglar sliced off her fingers and used knives on her "like a butcher" in her Dublin apartment.

She suffered deep cuts to her face as well as life threatening wounds.

The intruder stabbed her neck, abdomen and chest during the horrific ordeal, which left her sliding around in her own blood on the floor.

He also cut off her ring and little finger at the joints and partially amputated her middle and index fingers. At one stage, she felt her only chance was to play dead.

Doctors were able to successfully reattach her middle finger but she lost the other finger parts. Her facial scars are still visible.

The artist is now unable to hold a pen. She had an exhibition of her work in St Stephen's Green in 2006 and had illustrated a children's book.

She had been planning to illustrate another book before she was attacked.



BALACLAVA

At one stage, her attacker, who had bound and gagged her, checked her breathing and then continued cutting her.

When he realised she was not dead, he told her to put her hand on the bed, she felt a cut to her hand and her hand go numb. She tried to lift herself up but was unable to and lost consciousness after another cut to her back.

Dublin Circuit Criminal court heard details of the savage attack when 35-year-old James Kenny, of Eden Block, Prospect Hill, forced his way into her apartment wearing a balaclava and armed with two knives.

Kenny pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary with a knife and machete at another block of the Prospect Hill complex and to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to the woman on September 2, 2009.

Kenny had a number of previous convictions for theft and a 1998 conviction for serious assault.

In that incident, he broke into the home of a 58-year-old man with whom he had an issue, tied him up and when he tried to escape, stabbed him a number of times.

When the man escaped over a balcony, he turned on the man's partner and stabbed her 10 times. He received a four- year prison term.

Judge Tony Hunt adjourned sentencing until July 4 next to allow Kenny to be psychologically assessed in prison.

After he was arrested, Kenny said something happened to him during the attack and he began feeling anger towards the woman and attacked her.

Kenny described himself as "a wreck" and said he had a problem with painkillers. He said he had taken 16 Nurofen tablets and cans of beer.

The woman's victim impact statement outlined that she was also unable to indulge her interest in photography and found it difficult to manage cooking, household tasks and gardening.

She had to give up horse- riding which she had enjoyed. She suffered flashbacks and sometimes felt depressed.

Breffni Gordon, defending, said Kenny had received no visits apart from a short one from a relative at Christmas.

He said that Kenny had been psychologically assessed and a "psychological strategy" should be put in place.

hnews@herald.ie