herald

Tuesday 14 August 2018

'I'm scared to open my door' - victim of horror assault

Sarah Behan was attacked by Fitzpatrick in front of her son
Sarah Behan was attacked by Fitzpatrick in front of her son

A mother who feared for her life during a vicious assault by Patrick Fitzpatrick has spoken of her shock at his early release.

Sarah Behan told the Herald that she was living in fear after learning that her former partner had been released from prison pending an appeal.

The former Fair City actor had been jailed for a month after pleading guilty to the attack at her home.

"I just can't grasp why he was let of prison so early. It's bizarre and I'm so upset," Ms Behan said yesterday.

"For the pain and suffering he put my son and I through I think his early release just goes to show how bad our justice system is.

"I'm now back to being scared of opening my front door.

"My logical side believes I'll be OK, but my anxiety often takes over, making me fear that I'm in danger."

Ms Behan described how nearly two years on from the assault, the beating she endured still haunts her seven-year-old son, who witnessed Fitzpatrick repeatedly "punch, choke and drag" his mother through her home.

It is now the Blanchardstown mother's goal to persuade other domestic abuse victims to speak out.

Evil

Speaking to the Herald last month, Ms Behan said: "He started out as the model boyfriend, making me feel so lucky to have him in my life. But I soon came to learn that he had a very evil streak to him.

"He was getting treatment for alcohol problems at the time, but nevertheless it didn't stop him from exploding into fits of rage on a regular basis."

It wasn't until two years later that Ms Behan saw her former partner brought to justice.

"One month in prison is far too lenient and sets a terrible example for those thinking about reporting their abusive partners," she said at the time.

"Patrick put my son and I through absolute hell.

"I suffered two busted lips and a badly bruised eye.

"My head was also completely covered in bald spots due to the huge lumps.

Scars

"But the psychological scars are far worse. Sometimes I wake up at night screaming thinking someone is in my room.

"My son sleeps with me nearly every night because he's terrified about being left alone.

"He suffers with very bad anxiety and goes into hysterics if he's ever cornered or locked in a room.

"With counselling sessions it's a little better but the scars of that night still haunt us."

The 32-year-old said she understood why so many people don't report domestic abuse.

"Unfortunately, it comes with a huge amount of stigma and shame," she added.

"My advice to anyone going through what I endured is to watch out for the early warning signs. If you have any doubt, just get out before it goes too far."

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