A Palestinian man who repeatedly stabbed his ex-wife in front of their four-year-old daughter has been sentenced to three and half years with the final nine months suspended.
Kassem Hamdam, aged 30, later told gardaí that the woman had “fucked my life” and said he had wanted her to be left with a permanent scar. He said he couldn’t leave his child “with this bitch” and claimed the relationship had come to an end because she was jealous and didn’t like him drinking.
Hamdam, of Windsor Terrace, Portobello, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to the woman and production of a weapon at her home on Blessington Street, Dublin 7, on August 23, 2015.
Jennifer Jackson, defending, said her client was brought to a Lebanese refugee camp as a six-year-old where he witnessed shootings and detonations on a daily basis.
Counsel said Hamdam was put under significant pressure to get involved in violence but he didn’t and ultimately came to Ireland in 2006 to seek asylum. He has since been diagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder.
Garda John Costigan told John Fitzgerald, prosecuting, that Hamdam called to the woman’s home that evening and told his daughter to go into her bedroom. He followed the child but a few minutes later called the victim into the room too.
He claimed he was looking for a letter but the woman felt he was acting strangely and chose to run from the room.
Hamdam followed, pulled her to the ground and stabbed her face. She tried to grab the weapon, which she described as a DIY knife, but he continued the attack and slashed at her stomach. She could feel blood on her face and arms. Her daughter was shouting and crying.
Hamdam eventually stopped the assault and ran from the house.
The woman was later treated for a 5cm cut to the left-hand side of her face, a cut to her elbow and a minor cut to her stomach. Her left ring figure was injured when she tried to grab the weapon and she continues to have restricted movement of it because of that damage.
A victim impact report stated that woman has since had to take medication for depression and anxiety and finds it hard to sleep because she worries she will see Hamdam again.
Her daughter also worries about her father coming to their home again and they have now moved in with the victim’s parents.
The woman is getting on-going physiotherapy to deal with the restricted movement in her finger and is looking into the possibility of cosmetic surgery for her face.
Hamdam later claimed in garda interview that he hadn’t used a blade but instead used a keyring, which had edges that were “sharp and dangerous”. He said he had swiped at the victim’s face with the bunch of keys and admitted he caught her on the hand during the attack. He denied pulling her to the ground.
Judge Karen O’Connor described photographs of the woman’s injuries as disturbing, “particularly in relation to the marks on her face”.
She said it was “a very serious form of aggravation” that a young child observed her mother in that condition adding that it must have been terrifying for both “this little girl and her mother”.
Ms Jackson said her client was not trying to hide behind his past and that he understood his behaviour was deplorable but submitted it was out of character.
She said a psychological report concluded that Hamdam had post-traumatic stress disorder and although he had never been treated for this, he needed medical intervention.
Ms Jackson said Hamdam was unemployed at the time and had just separated from his wife. She said it was a stressful period in his life.
He had €1,000 to offer as a token of remorse. Hamdam wants to rebuild a relationship with his daughter, counsel told the court.
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