Father of assault victim feels ‘let down’ by legal system

Willie Byrd and his daughter Tara Byrd. Picture: Cork Courts Limited

The father of a woman who had boiling water with sugar poured on her leg by her ex-boyfriend said he feels let down by the legal system after a court imposed a two-and-a-half-year sentence for the crime.

Willie Byrd said his daughter, Tara, will suffer long-term consequences as a result of the incident, which took place when she was four and a half months pregnant.

Michael Lynch, 25, received the sentence on Tuesday having been convicted of assault causing harm to Ms Byrd on July 21, 2015, at 184 Old Youghal Rd, Cork, where they lived at the time.

Lynch had pleaded not guilty to the offence. In her testimony, Ms Byrd said she was ‘in agony’ after the incident.

“He said he was going to boil a kettle of water with sugar in it and pour the sugar water on me. He put the sugar in the kettle and boiled it. He said if I screamed he would hit me over the head with an iron bar,” she told the court during the trial.

Yesterday Ms Byrd’s father Willie Byrd said that Lynch should have received the maximum sentence.

“It was premeditated. He told her he was going to do it, he knew what he was doing, it was no accident,” he told Neil Prendeville on Cork’s Red FM.

He said he thought the length of the sentence was “amazing” considering Lynch “fought it all the way”.

“He should have gotten the maximum, the maximum is five years, that’s what the judge could have given him if he wanted to. He didn’t, I really don’t know why,” he said.

Mr Byrd said his daughter did not scream when it happened as she was in shock and fearful for the health of her baby.

“She couldn’t take painkillers, because of the baby. She couldn’t take medication for the pain,” he said.

Ms Byrd has since given birth to a baby boy.

Her father said that his daughter is “very nervous, even going around our own house,” that she doesn’t wear skirts or dresses because of the scarring and that she can’t go to the beach.

He added that she would “love to take her son to the beach some day”.

He said that he “couldn’t come to terms” with what had happened, and Mr Prendeville asked him if he felt let down by the system.

“Yes,” Mr Byrd replied.

“It was premeditated, the pictures show how severe it was. It’s long term, it’s not just the scarring, it’s mentally, for everybody,” he said.

He added that he looked into the reason why someone would mix sugar with boiling water before pouring it on their victim.

He said he learned that prisoners often do it as a punishment, and that adding sugar to boiling water gives it a higher boiling point and then the boiling sugar clings to the victim’s body.


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