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Man accused of vicious attack on ex in front of her son

A man has gone on trial accused of assaulting his former girlfriend in an attack which has left her with severe and permanent facial disfigurement.

His alleged victim was walking her son to school when a man came up to her and punched her twice in the face, and cut her from ear to nose "with a sharp object".

Fergal McNulty (42), of Whitworth Road, Drumcondra, and also Cois Cualann, Ballybrack, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm and assault causing serious harm to Una Webb on St Anne's Road, Drumcondra on September 3, 2009.

The woman, who is in her thirties, sobbed throughout her evidence as she described in court how the attack seemed to go on forever.

She told Garret Baker, prosecuting, that she was walking on St Anne's Road at around 8.30am when she felt the presence of someone behind her.

She said she looked over her shoulder and saw the accused, who she knows from a five-year relationship that ended around 2000.

She told Mr Baker: "I felt blows to my face. It was hot. I thought 'I'm after getting punched'. It just seemed to go on forever."

"I pushed my son away. My main concern was the safety of my son. I saw it was him and of course I was concerned for the safety of my son."



blood

She said she ran away as fast as she could, dragging her child with her. She then noticed her top was all wet and covered with blood.

She said she looked back at one point and said her attacker was on the opposite side of the road looking at her. She said she thought he was going to come back.

The court heard she met two people at the end of the road and collapsed. An ambulance was called and she was brought to the Mater Hospital where she underwent surgery.

Under cross-examination the woman told defence counsel Padraig Dwyer that she didn't make a mistake in her identification of her attacker.

Mr Dwyer put it to her that the time she had to make a positive identification was limited to seconds.

Ms Webb said: "I know him, he lived around the corner. I know his face. It doesn't matter if it was five minutes or five seconds or two seconds. I know what I saw. I think I should know the man who stabbed me, the man I had a relationship with."

Dylan Murray, a consultant in facial surgery at Mater Hospital, said he would categorise Ms Webb's scarring as severe and permanent and said it she is left with a serious disfigurement.

He said, in his opinion, the cuts were caused by a sharp object and that this would be obvious to others.

The court heard that when gardai charged McNulty, he told them that he was totally innocent of all charges.

The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCartan and a jury of six men and six women. It is scheduled to last three days.

hnews@herald.ie