‘Butcher’ who cut off artist’s fingers receives 16 years

A BURGLAR who cut a number of fingers from an artist’s hand and used knives on her “like a butcher” during a break-in has been jailed for 16 years.

Judge Tony Hunt described James Kenny’s attack on the victim “a talented artist” as “unspeakable, almost medieval barbarity” and said the woman had been left with a constant physical reminder “of the horror visited upon her”.

Kenny, aged 35, of Eden Block, Prospect Hill, Dublin, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary with a knife and machete and to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to the woman on September 2, 2009.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Kenny broke into the apartment at another block of the Prospect Hill complex and took a number of items before tying up the woman and attacking her. He told gardaí he had no reason to attack the woman and had a problem with painkillers.

The woman described Kenny as using the knives on her “like a butcher”. She said she was sliding around in blood and felt her only option at one point was to play dead. She lost consciousness and when she awoke made her way to a local hotel where she collapsed and staff called an ambulance.

The victim needed to be resuscitated on her arrival to hospital and had suffered three deep facial lacerations as well as life threatening wounds. She had stab wounds to her neck, abdomen and chest.

Her ring finger and little finger had been amputated at joints and her middle and index finger partially amputated. Doctors were able to reattach her middle finger but she lost the other finger portions. Her facial scars are also still visible, and she is unable to hold a pen, unable to indulge her interest in photography and finds it difficult to manage cooking, household tasks and gardening. She had to give up horse-riding, which she had enjoyed. She suffers flash backs and can feel depressed, and has never returned to the apartment.

Describing the victim as “a person of considerable abilities and culture” Judge Hunt said that due to her “horrendous” injuries, her life was “irretrievably altered and society has been deprived of the talented and cultured person she is”.

“Every minute of every day for the rest of her life she will have the physical reminder of the horror visited upon her.”

Breffni Gordon BL, defence, said Kenny had completed a first aid course while in prison and is now studying computer science.

He said his client has now “for the first time, experienced a huge degree of remorse and emotional upset having spent a long period of time trying to work out why he was the person he was at the time of the offence”.

Judge Hunt said he felt it was significant that Kenny “knew very clearly what he was doing” during the attack.

Kenny has a number of previous convictions for theft, and received a four-year sentence in 1998 for a serious assault. In that incident he had broken into the home of a 58-year-old man, tied him up and stabbed him a number of times when he tried to escape. When the man escaped, Kenny stabbed his partner 10 times.


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