A Cork woman was thrown down the stairs by her “perfectionist” husband after she cooked his pork chops in the oven instead of frying them.
The jury took less than two hours at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to reach their unanimous verdict against Anthony Kelleher, aged 42, on the charge of assault causing serious harm to Siobhán Kelleher, aged 36, at Curraheen, Raleigh North, Macroom, Co Cork, on June 12, 2014.
As well as suffering numerous fractures and bruising as well laceration to her liver, the victim went on to suffer a stroke.
Tom Creed, defending, asked for Kelleher to be allowed on continuing bail to put his affairs in order. The prosecution did not oppose, but Judge Ó Donnabháin refused bail saying: “His status has irrevocably changed in view of the verdict of the jury.”
The accused chose not to give evidence. Ms Kelleher, in effect, did not testify either, but the prosecution went on in the absence of oral testimony.
Ms Kelleher walked slowly to the witness box with a walking stick on February 17. She swore on the bible and replied to the first question asked by Siobhán Lankford, prosecuting: “I want to withdraw my complaint.”
Following legal argument in the absence of the jury at that point, the prosecution was allowed to go ahead by presenting to the jury three statements taken down in writing from Ms Kelleher following June 12, 2014.
Four days afterwards from a bed at Cork University Hospital, she said: “Last Thursday, June 12 2014, my husband came home from work at about 5.15pm. I had a glass of wine before Anthony came home to calm my nerves. He started ranting and raving and said I was staggering around. I went to bed for an hour. Anthony dragged me out of bed by the hair and threw me across the corridor and down the stairs. The next thing I knew I woke up in hospital.”
She added in a second statement: “We were having pork chops that day. I put the dinner on the table. He would never say thanks. He complained that the pork chops were cooked in the oven. He wanted them fried. He is a perfectionist. [After a brief exchange of words] I went to bed and covered my head with the blankets.
“He came after me and asked me what did I say. I said, ‘Nothing, I’m sorry.’ I put my hands to my face to save my head. I didn’t want bruises. I had my hair in a ponytail and he pulled me out of bed by the ponytail. There were clumps of hair coming out.
“He dragged me by the hair and threw me down the stairs. He kicked me on the way down twice in the ass. I got to the first landing and he kicked me the rest of the way down. I was out cold and I don’t remember anything else until I woke in hospital with a tube down my throat.
“Anthony came in to the hospital with my slippers and pyjamas. He started crying and said, ’If you had died I would have thrown myself in the river’. I couldn’t look at him.”
In a third statement 10 months later, she withdrew the previous statements, said she fell at the clothes line, and that her husband never laid a hand on her.
Anthony Kelleher told gardaí: “I believed she had a drink problem. Siobhán fell down the stairs at our home. She smokes an odd cigarette now and again. She would get very unsteady on her feet… if she has a cigarette. (Later) She fell against the wall.”
He denied beating his wife within an inch of her life.
Professor Stephen Cusack, who testified he co-wrote CUH’s policy on responding to domestic violence said: “All of the injuries are consistent with a fall from a height.”
The injuries included numerous fractures to ribs, spine, finger, wrist and arm, laceration to liver and bruising to buttocks, thighs, trunk, and abrasions to her face.
Prof Cusack said he had often seen alcoholics with such injuries.
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