herald

Friday 24 November 2017

Thief jailed for brush attack on woman pal

A man who assaulted a female friend in an "extremely frightening and harrowing attack" has been sentenced to five years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Jason O'Toole (24) attacked Frances Gallagher with a sweeping brush, breaking it in three places, dragged her upstairs by the hair and punched the side of her face. The attack began after she caught him going through her handbag for money.

O'Toole, of Ballyfermot Drive, Ballyfermot, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Ms Gallagher on September 6, 2009 at her home in the same estate.

Detective Garda Padraig Gallagher told Sean Guerin, prosecuting, that beforehand O'Toole arranged with Ms Gallagher to meet up. They both went to a city centre pub where they had several drinks before returning to Ms Gallagher's house.

Ms Gallagher went upstairs to her bedroom and when she returned to the sitting room she saw O'Toole going through her handbag. He took her purse and demanded more money and jewellery from her.

Ms Gallagher ran to the front door but was prevented from leaving as O'Toole grabbed her neck in an arm lock and she fell to the ground.

He then grabbed her by the hair and dragged her upstairs to her bedroom. Using a sweeping brush, he hit her on the back of the head and her back, breaking the brush in three places.







frightening

Her injuries included bruising to the left hand side of her face, a black eye and bruising to her left and right shoulders.

He demanded more money from her and went through her jeans. The assault ended when he found money in the pockets.

Ms Caroline Biggs, prosecuting, said O'Toole is one of nine children and has difficulties with heroin and alcohol.

Ms Biggs said for the past year O'Toole has been addressing his anger management issues by attending the Star Project in Ballyfermot for counselling.

In her victim impact statement Ms Gallagher said she can't get over the psychological effects the attack had on her and is glad to be alive.

Judge Donagh McDonagh said Ms Gallagher was subjected to "quite a savage attack and no doubt considerable violence was used."

"Whether or not they knew each other or not or whether they were in a relationship of any description, there is no excuse for what happened," said Judge McDonagh.

"It was an extremely frightening and harrowing ordeal and Ms Gallagher was seriously battered," he continued. Judge McDonagh suspended the final two years of the sentence.

hnews@herald.ie

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