Man who assaulted girlfriend took 12 hours to call ambulance

A man who assaulted his girlfriend and left her hospitalised for four months with serious brain injuries has been sentenced to six years in prison, with the final 12 months suspended.

The court heard Paul McMenamy (aged 28) failed to get any medical attention for his victim for 12 hours after the incident.

McMenamy of Donomore Green pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to care worker Nicola Murray at Reuben Walk, Rialto on February 5, 2012.

He has eight previous convictions, including assaults on two previous girlfriends in 2005 and 2008.

Detective Sergeant Mick O'Brien told Vincent Heneghan, BL, prosecuting that the couple had been in a relationship for 10 weeks prior to the assault.

They went to The Bird Flanagan pub on the night and called a babysitter to mind two of Ms Murray’s three young children. They arrived home shortly after 2.20am and let the babysitter go.

A next door neighbour told gardaí she woke up when she heard a lot of banging from next door which lasted around 30 minutes.

Det Sgt O'Brien said McMenamy had called an ambulance at 3.16am and told the emergency services that his girlfriend had fallen down, banged her head and had a cut above her eyebrow.

He had indicated that Ms Murray was drunk and wasn't waking up. He didn’t give the emergency services his address and hung up the phone saying, he would call back in five minutes.

Ms Murray’s friend called to the house the following day and saw the victim in bed unconscious. Her face was swollen and she had a gash above her eyebrow.

The friend said McMenamy told her Ms Murray “went wild and ran amok with vodka” and that she came at him with a knife and whacked her head off the bed.

Another friend, Ann-Marie Kenny, said she called to the house and McMenamy said he had hit Ms Murray once to calm her down as he told her she was “like something out of The Exorcist.”

An ambulance was called at 4.49pm and the victim was taken to hospital where she spent one month in intensive care with a serious brain injury, a month in a ward and eight weeks in rehab in Dun Laoghaire.

In a victim impact report, Ms Murray’s family said the 28-year-old used to be a “bubbly, cheerful and outgoing person but now rarely goes out and flies off the handle at the drop of a hat.”

“She didn't even recognise her own son when she was in hospital and she had to be taught how to boil a kettle and use a knife and fork again. She is not the same Nicola we knew before,” the statement continued.

Det Sgt O’Brien said Ms Murray lost about €13,000 in earnings but has now returned to work part time at a Harolds Cross hospice.

The detective agreed with Caroline Biggs SC, defending, that her client’s admissions during interview that he’d “shoved” and “pushed” Ms Murray assisted with the investigation. He further agreed there was no evidence any children had witnessed the attack.

Ms Biggs, submitted to Judge Mary Ellen Ring that her client had obtained “a litany of certificates” while in custody pending the sentence and has engaged in therapy.

She submitted that McMenamy has anger management and drugs issues going back to his early teens and has sought to address these.

She asked the judge to take into account her client’s early guilty plea and his expression of remorse, which she submitted was “not empty or formulaic”.

Judge Ring commented that Ms Murray’s recovery “may never be complete” and that she has ongoing psychological issues.

She said that as well inflicting a brain injury on Ms Murray, McMenamy also failed to get adequate medical intervention for her for over 12 hours.

“This indicated fear for McMenamy's own position, given his previous convictions, and showed absolutely no regard for Ms Murray's health or her life,” said Judge Ring.

She said although McMenamy has made efforts to deal with his anger and addiction issues, she noted that he had made efforts before, which were “put at nought” when he assaulted Ms Murray.

Judge Ring ordered that McMenamy must have no contact, direct or indirect, with Ms Murray for three years after his release.

The sentence was backdated to February 9, 2012.

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