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'The nightmare never ends' - victim's fear as abuser set to walk free

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Kim Fox suffered serious injuries after her partner violently attacked her in her home

Kim Fox suffered serious injuries after her partner violently attacked her in her home

PA

Kim Fox suffered serious injuries after her partner violently attacked her in her home

Hundreds of people, including victims of domestic violence, have signed a petition urging the Justice Minister to prevent a notorious abuser from walking free from prison early.

Paul Barry, of Ballybrack in Dublin, is due to be released this Christmas after serving two years of his 32-month sentence.

His former partner Kim Fox was left for dead after Barry savagely beat her in an unprovoked attack when he came home after a night out with friends.

Ms Fox sustained soft tissue damage to her upper body and face, a fractured eye socket, three fractured ribs and had two of her teeth knocked out.

She spent three days in hospital following the attack at her Dublin home in December 2018.

TRAUMATISED

Barry was sentenced to 32 months in prison at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. The crime has a maximum sentence of five years, but Barry will have served 24 months behind bars when he is due for early release at Christmas.

Ms Fox lost her job as a result of being off work for a month after the attack and she said that while she has recovered physically, she has been left permanently traumatised.

She said the prospect of her former partner's release "terrifies" her and her family.

She has called on Justice Minister Helen McEntee to ensure her abuser is not freed until he has served his full sentence.

"I had to go through hell in order to get him locked up: trying to lift myself up out of bed to get down to court with my face swollen and smashed up - I can't understand how he is going to be left out early, to walk free while we still suffer for what he did," Ms Fox said.

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Kim Fox

Kim Fox

PA

Kim Fox

"I will never recover from the beating he gave me. The scars, the nightmare, it never ends.

"My poor daughter suffered the most thinking I was dead and having to jump over my limp body covered in blood.

"We are the ones left living in fear - where is the justice for the victims?"

Ms Fox's campaign is being backed by the Stop Domestic Violence in Ireland (SDVII) group, which provided legal help and counselling in the aftermath of the attack.

So far the petition has been signed by more than 700 people.

SDVII founder Priscilla Grainger said the case underlines the need to have domestic violence enshrined in law as a crime in Ireland.

Ms Grainger said: "This horrific case again underlines the complete inadequacy of our sentencing regime when it comes to domestic violence cases.

"If abusers like Barry are allowed to walk free from prison early what kind of message does this send out to victims? It severely undermines the faith and trust they have in a system which is failing, time and time again, to protect them.

"It also, yet again, illustrates why domestic violence needs to be made a crime in this country, as it is in many other jurisdictions.

POWER

"If it was, gardaĆ­ would have the power to charge abusers with multiple counts which would in turn lead to longer sentences and act as a far greater deterrent to abusers.

"In cases like this in the US the abuser could expect to serve 10 years, not 10 months, behind bars."