Man who tried to strangle partner with vacuum cleaner jailed for 20 months

Man who tried to strangle partner with vacuum cleaner jailed for 20 months

A man who tried to choke his ex-partner with a vacuum cleaner flex before beating her with an iron and smashing a wine bottle on her has been jailed for 20 months.

Judge Martin Nolan said that Ralph Currivan (49) had been a “very good and law abiding citizen” until this incident.

He said that he had considered not jailing Currivan but that the seriousness of what he did left the court with no other choice but to impose a custodial sentence.

Currivan of Dunawley Grove, Clondalkin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm of Janet Hazel at her house in Clondalkin on December 5, 2012.

He sobbed as Judge Nolan imposed a jail term of three years with the last 16 months suspended.

Garda Ruth Brett told Kerida Naidoo BL, prosecuting, that Currivan and the victim had been in a relationship but decided to take a break in November 2012.

Six weeks before the assault Currivan spoke to her about getting back together and became angry when she told him she didn't want to do that.

On December 5, Currivan called to her home and she let him in. He told her “you can't treat me like this” and became extremely angry.

He pushed her against a wall and onto the floor before punching her to the head and eye with his fist. He then grabbed a vacuum cleaner cord and put it around her neck.

Ms Hazel managed to get out from the flex and Currivan put his hands around her throat and tried to choke her. He then took a clothes iron and hit her with it, causing a gash on her shoulder.

The victim pleaded with Currivan to stop and tried to get up but he told her to stay down. He then got a bread knife and said he was going to kill her.

Currivan then smashed an empty wine bottle on her head.

Currivan stopped the attack and told the woman he wanted to talk to her. He swallowed a whole packet of Solpadeine tablets and told her he didn't want to live, saying “Look what I've done”.

He took some of the broken bottle and said he wanted to slit his wrists. The victim managed to calm him down and convinced him not to hurt himself and they both began cleaning up the scene.

Currivan then locked himself into the victim's bathroom and passed out. Ms Hazel rang an ambulance and both persons were taken to Tallaght Hospital.

Gda Brett said the victim was terrified during the attack and was afraid for her life when Currivan was standing over her with the knife.

After his arrest Currivan, who has no previous convictions, said he didn't remember what he had done but fully accepted the victim's account.

Ronan Kennedy BL, defending, said the victim was a good, kind-hearted woman who had befriended Currivan when he was at his lowest.

She said the father of two was diagnosed with chronic back pain in 2009 and couldn't work. This put a strain on his marriage and he and his wife separated.

Counsel said Currivan was on morphine derivatives and sedatives and shouldn't have been drinking alcohol along with these.

Gda Brett accepted that Currivan is remorseful. In a letter read to the court, he apologised for the pain and distress he has caused.

He wrote: “I cannot forgive myself. It has haunted me for a lifetime. I never meant any harm to Ms Hazel. I have betrayed her friendship. I'd give anything to right this wrong and turn back the clock.”

Counsel said Currivan hopes the victim might forgive him some day and would give anything to sit down and have a conversation with her again. He said that this could be facilitated through the Restorative Justice programme but knows this was unlikely.

Currivan, who is in receipt of social welfare and makes maintenance payments to his ex-wife, brought €1,000 to court in compensation, Mr Kennedy said

A letter handed into court from Currivan's ex-wife stated that she has never known him to be violent.

Counsel said Currivan began using alcohol as an emotional crutch and was drinking daily by 2012. He has been sober since the attack on Ms Hazel.

A number of his life long friends had come to court to support Currivan and the court heard written testimonials from some of these, describing the assault as completely out of character.

A psychiatric assessment put Currivan at the lowest level of risk of perpetrating a violent crime again.

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