Man to be sentenced for assault on then girlfriend

A young Dublin man who viciously assaulted an ex-girlfriend in his car after a night drinking has been remanded in custody with consent to bail to allow him to attend for drug treatment.

Paul McMenamy (aged 24) of Donomore Green, Tallaght had previously left another ex-girlfriend with an eye injury from punching her in the face with a key in his fist.

McMenamy pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Ms Nicola O’Keefe in a car park at Blessington Road, Tallaght in the early hours of February 2, 2008. He has four previous convictions including drink driving and assault.

Ms O’Keefe, who was 19 years old at the time, described how she now feels “terrified” around men, that she doesn’t go anywhere alone especially after dark, that she suffers nightmares and flashbacks of the attack and has become more emotional.

She told Ms Melanie Greally BL, prosecuting, that she has since moved house, left college and lost all of her confidence.

She said: “He (McMenamy) has put me through hell and I’m going to have to live with that for the rest of my life.”

Judge Katherine Delahunt said it was a serious case and had been “a very traumatic night for all involved” but she noted that McMenamy admitted the offence and has since made efforts to deal with his drug addiction, which she described as “the root cause of his offending”.

She said she would impose a three-year sentence but suspend the balance of it, on “very strict conditions”, if McMenamy successful completes his drug treatment. She adjourned the case to next April.

McMenamy has been on remand in custody pending sentence since last November when Judge Delahunt first heard the evidence in the case.

Garda Patrick Hanney told Ms Greally that McMenamy drove his victim to the car park after leaving his house to get petrol when he became agitated at home.

McMenamy started giving out to Ms O’Keefe, bit her ear and punched her in the face and stomach.

Ms O’Keefe told gardaí that the car was covered in blood when the beating stopped.

She said he’d consumed up to 11 drinks while out socialising with her and a friend and continued drinking after driving home.

McMenamy became agitated and left with Ms O’Keefe, but drove past the petrol station to the car park where he committed the assault.

Gda Hanney said McMenamy restarted his car after the attack, started crying as he drove in the Donomore Green direction and asked his victim if she would agree to say she’d got her injuries from him crashing the car.

Ms O’Keefe refused, was let out of the car and later attended her doctor with a swollen lip and lacerations to her gums.

Gda Hanney agreed with Ms Greally that there was no injury to Ms O’Keefe’s ear.

McMenamy initially tried to blame his ex-girlfriend for starting the fight by shouting at him and slapping him in the face, and denied he ever punched her stomach or bit her ear.

The garda agreed with Ms Una Ní Raifeartaigh SC, defending, that her client made graphic admissions of how he grabbed Ms O’Keefe’s head from behind, slapped her face off the dashboard and hit her on the way back up.

Gda Hanney agreed that Mc Menamy claimed in interview that he’d decided to kill himself afterwards by driving his car off a cliff.

The garda confirmed that McMenamy ended up in hospital that night after crashing his car, which was a write-off.

He agreed that McMenamy and Ms O’Keefe were reunited briefly after the assault but the relationship didn’t last.

Ms O’Keefe rejected her ex-boyfriend’s hand-written letter of apology saying that she only received it ahead of the court case and that it would have arrived much sooner had McMenamy been genuinely sorry.

Ms Ní Raifeartaigh submitted that her client was ashamed of what he’d outlined in his apology as his “cowardly and disgusting act.”

Ms Ní Raifeartaigh submitted that although her client had come from a stable and supportive family, he had difficulties from an early age which would have been exacerbated by alcohol and cocaine.

She said she was instructed that McMenamy has been drug-free for several months and is receiving anger management counselling.

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