A 50-year-old man who launched a “vicious” knife attack on a woman he was in a relationship with 15 years previously has been jailed for 14 years.

Denis Leahy, of Queen St, Dublin 7, was charged with attempting to murder Rose Kenny at School Street Flats, Dublin 8, on September 23, 2014.

Leahy pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Rose Kenny after the case had opened to the jury at the Central Criminal Court on June 22.

He had previously pleaded guilty to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Ms Kenny at the same address on the same date.

Rose Kenny was attacked on the stairwell of her apartment complex on her way to work in a local creche. Her injuries included three stab wounds to her neck and three stab wounds to her chest. One of the stab wounds to her neck went through the front of her larynx.

Yesterday Mr Justice Paul Butler sentenced Leahy to 14 years’ imprisonment and backdated it to September 23, 2014.

He said the victim impact statement given by Ms Kenny last week was “so moving” that he had to adjourn sentencing until today to consider all the matters carefully.

Mr Justice Butler also said that Ms Kenny was “obviously very popular” with the presence of all her peers in court.

He said the aggravating factors included the ferociousness of the attack and the injuries sustained to Ms Kenny.

“It was only thanks to the highly skillful medical intervention that Ms Kenny survived,” he said.

Mr Justice Butler said the attack was premeditated and had been planned “for at least a day”. He said there was a “lack of remorse” shown by Leahy and that the court considered the offence to be at the higher end of the scale.

The judge said the mitigating factors included the fact Leahy had “no relevant previous convictions”.

“From an early stage he admitted the facts and at a late stage he entered a plea to count 1,” he said.

Upon handing down sentence, Mr Justice Butler said: “The lowest sentence I can impose on this case is 14 years to date from September 23, 2014. I considered a suspension but there is no basis on which to do so.”

Ms Kenny’s brother spoke on behalf of his sister outside court yesterday regarding the sentence which was handed down.

Paul Kenny said: “On behalf of Rose we would like to thank our friends, family, and the investigating team. Although we think no sentence would have been harsh enough, we are very pleased with the outcome and we now hope that Rose can get on with the rest of her life. It’s a fairly stiff sentence but it’s a terrible crime and we are glad the judge saw through everything.”

Last week Ms Kenny delivered an emotional victim impact statement to the court.

Afterwards, speaking outside the Criminal Courts of Justice, the 51-year-old woman said the attack had “changed her completely”.

“I’ve had to leave the area I grew up and worked in. I tried to go back to work but I just wasn’t able for it. It has just completely changed my life and I don’t trust the world the way I used to,” she said.

“I don’t look anyone in the eye and say hello anymore, I look at their hands to see if they are carrying a weapon. I just don’t think it’s a nice world,” she said.

The court previously heard that on the morning of the attack, Ms Kenny was going to work in a local family resource centre where she worked in a crèche. She left her flat at 7.50am and came down the stairs to make the 40-second journey to her place of employment when she saw a man reading a newspaper at the end of the stairs.

“I remember saying good morning and he just jumped up and attacked me but I never saw his face after that,” she said.

Ms Kenny never lost consciousness throughout the attack until she got to the hospital.

“My eyes were closed through the whole attack but I opened my eyes then and I never let them close again because if I closed my eyes then I would have died and I did not want to die,” she said.

Ms Kenny said she sustained “multiple injuries” and “lacerations” to her neck, abdomen, back, shoulder, and arm.

Her “horrendous injuries” included three stab wounds to her neck and three stab wounds to her chest.

She said she was heavily medicated at the time so it was weeks before she realised how seriously she was hurt.

After the “vicious” attack, her sister, Jeanette, and daughter, Jamie, were at the scene. Ms Kenny said she would “never forget” their screams.

Ms Kenny did not recognise Leahy throughout the assault even though she had shared many years with him as her partner. “When I was told it was him it was like being attacked all over again,” she said.


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