A Scottish man who told the mother of his children that he would slice her “from ear to ear” and scar her for life during a brutal four-hour assault has been given an eight-year sentence.
Paul Coulter (aged 28) told his former partner that he would torture her for two days and cut her “down there” one day after his release from Midlands prison after he became jealous of her relationship with another man.
Judge Frank O’Donnell said that the assault was one of the most vicious attacks on a woman that he had ever come across.
Coulter, with an address at Clonshaugh Glen, Coolock but who originally hails from Glasgow, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm, making threats to kill and false imprisonment at Burrow Court, Forest Road, Swords on April 5, 2009.
Judge O’Donnell said that a victim impact report outlined how Coulter’s former partner struggled to keep conscious during the assault, believing if she passed out she would be “a dead woman”.
The woman said she thought she was going to die after enduring four hours of beatings and torture and wrote that the fact she leaped from a second story window to get help and left her children in the house was proof that a person would “do anything” to survive.
Suspending the final year of an eight-year sentence, Judge O’Donnell said the court noted a report which expressed concern that Coulter may regard the assault as justifiable in terms of a crime of passion.
Garda Anthony Cagney told Ms Tara Burns BL, prosecuting, that in December 2008 while Coulter was serving a prison sentence at Midlands prison for the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, his partner begun a relationship with another man.
Coulter’s partner, who regularly brought their two children to visit him in prison, told gardaí that the pair continually rowed after Coulter secured temporary release from prison on April 3, 2009.
After arguing with the victim over a text message she received from another man, Coulter “took off” the next day and did not return to the house until 2:30am the following morning, where the victim told gardaí the demeanour of his face suggested he was under the influence of a controlled drug.
Coulter then punched his victim straight in the face and kicked her in the torso after she refused his advances.
Coulter further punched and kicked his victim, hit her in the head with a bottle and told her every time she looked in a mirror she would be reminded of him as he was going to slice her “from ear to ear” with a razor.
He slashed his victims upper arm as she raised it to protect her throat before grabbing her throat and squeezing for up to ten seconds at a time.
Coulter told his victim he would cut her in the groin and threatened her by making reference to her late brother, telling her “you’re going to where your brother is”.
After enduring the assault for four hours and suffering scalp lacerations, swelling of the brain and fractured vertebrae, the victim made her escape by leaping from a second floor bedroom window and alerting a neighbour.
Gda Cagney agreed with Mr Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, that it was likely Coulter had cancelled a 2009 application to serve the remainder of his prison sentence in Scotland as he believed he had a long term future with his former partner.
He agreed with Mr O’Higgins that Coulter was a jealous person and that it would be upsetting for any individual to find that their partner had been unfaithful.
Gda Cagney agreed that a substantial number of Coulter’s 49 previous convictions were drink related and that his consumption of alcohol was equivalent to “throwing petrol on a fire”.
Mr O’Higgins said that Coulter had felt “heartbroken and betrayed” after he had read a text message on the victim’s phone expressing her dismay at his release.
He said that Coulter did not seek to justify or lessen his actions, save to say that he was a person with a litany of difficulties, and that there was a human dimension to the case which could perhaps explain the anger and rage shown on the night.