Jailed for unprovoked attack on woman

A middle-aged man struck a woman in an unprovoked attack and then continued the assault as she lay on the ground in a crime which the sentencing judge described as despicable and cowardly.

Michael Rutherford, aged 48, pleaded guilty yesterday to a charge of assault causing harm to Veronica Tobin at Glen Avenue, Blackpool, Cork, on October 17, 2016.

Rutherford had denied this and other charges earlier in the week. He was put on trial by judge and jury but the trial collapsed for legal reasons. Rutherford faced the prospect of a retrial but he pleaded guilty to one of the charges on the indictment yesterday, namely the assault.

Garda Grace Quirke testified that the injured party was on her way to work shortly before 8pm that night.

“Rutherford made some comment about [another person] and then punched Ms Tobin in the mouth. While on the ground he kicked and punched her. He threatened to burn down her house,” Garda Quirke said.

Ms Tobin said at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that she was still nervous going out in the dark and was afraid Rutherford would not leave her alone.

“My lip was busted open. My ribs were sore,” she said.

Donal O’Sullivan said Rutherford was from The Glen area but planned to live in Cobh on his release from prison.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a two-year sentence with the second year suspended.

He backdated the sentence to October 2016 as the accused was in custody since that time.

The last year was suspended on condition that the accused would not go within a mile of St Brendan’s Church in The Glen for two years following his release.


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