‘If a man is being controlling, get away. It will just get worse’

Tara Byrd, with her father Willie Byrd, at Cork Circuit Criminal Court. Picture: Cork Courts

A woman who had boiling water with sugar poured over her leg said after her ex-boyfriend was jailed yesterday that women should get out of relationships with possessive and violent men.

“If they feel any man is controlling them or being paranoid get away from them, it will only get worse,” Tara Byrd said yesterday after Michael Lynch, aged 25, was jailed for two and a half years for assault causing harm to her.

Ms Byrd, 25, and her father, Willie Byrd, felt the sentence was light in terms of the pain and fear she went through.

She said she now had the fear of Lynch when he gets out of jail.

It all began when Lynch became paranoid about her looking at a mutual friend of theirs on a night out.

Willie Byrd said that, like any father, he felt like doing something about it personally when the assault happened but he was glad they left the matter in the hands of the gardaí.

“Garda Paula Sidley looked after us in a big way,” Mr Byrd said.

Gda Sidley summarised the evidence in the case yesterday, where Lynch first threatened to pour boiling water and sugar on Ms Byrd’s left leg and did so moments afterwards.

As a result of her injuries, she had to receive serious medical attention, including a skin graft.

Her injuries six weeks after boiling water and sugar was poured on her leg. Her former partner was jailed yesterday for two and a half years for assault causing harm.
Her injuries six weeks after boiling water and sugar was poured on her leg. Her former partner was jailed yesterday for two and a half years for assault causing harm.

Ms Byrd suffered third- degree burns on an area of about 30cm down her leg below her knee and some 20cm side to side.

Lynch would not call for an ambulance on the night. It was only when his cousin visited the house the next day and insisted that an ambulance was called. Ms Byrd later went into a women’s refuge on her release from hospital, as she was in fear of Lynch.

The jury was not shown photographs of the leg wound. Judge Riordan was shown photographs yesterday. The judge said that while the maximum sentence was five years, the appropriate sentence was two and a half years.

Last week, a jury returned an 11-1 guilty verdict in Lynch’s retrial. The jury took over three hours to reach this verdict. The accused man did not give evidence but he told gardaí it was only a small amount of water that accidentally fell and he blamed a slope in the room.

This was in stark contrast to the description of violence given by the victim.

Back in May, the jury in the first trial could not decide on a verdict on either of the two charges.

Ultimately, Lynch was convicted of assault causing harm to Ms Byrd on July 21, 2015, at 184 Old Youghal Rd, Cork, where they were living at the time.

Ms Byrd testified: “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.

“I was wearing pyjama pants. He threw the kettle over my left leg. I was in agony. I did not scream. I was shaking with agony.

“I was there all night in that constant… in agony all night.”


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