A young Dublin man who burst his girlfriend's eardrum in a beating which left her vomiting for a whole night has been sentenced to four and a half years.
Garda Ronan Goggin said at an earlier hearing that Aaron Nolan, 21, had punched, kicked and pulled clumps out of his then girlfriend's hair as he dragged her over a green area and down a laneway.
The garda agreed with Brian Gageby BL, defending, that Nolan committed the assault on a “baseless” idea that his girlfriend had been texting another man.
The woman told gardaí that every time she denied this Nolan got angrier and would assault her further.
Nolan, of The Glen, Woodpark, Ballinteer, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two charges of assaulting the then 19-year-old woman at Ballinteer Crescent, Ballinteer, on November 5, 2017. He has no previous convictions.
Judge Melanie Greally had adjourned the case last January having heard the evidence to allow for the preparation of a report from the Probation Service.
Today, she suspended the final 18 months of the four and half year sentence on strict conditions including that Nolan be under supervision of the Probation Service for two years, have no contact with his victim for that time and attend a domestic violence perpetrator programme if deemed suitable.
She said the woman had returned home from the assault in “an appalling state” and was vomiting and experiencing extreme headaches.
She said there was “no doubt” that his attack on her had “an extremely damaging effect on her both emotionally and psychologically”.
It came somewhat out of the blue. He had been someone on whom she had been dependent and she had no expectation that he was capable of this.
"No doubt it will take her some time to come back from it,” Judge Greally said.
She said it was a succession of assaults over a prolonged period of time with extreme violence which was often “concentrated” on the woman's head and face.
Today, Mr Gageby read from a letter from his client to the woman in which he expressed his remorse telling her he was “so, so sorry” and “I hope you go back to your happy self”.
In a letter to the judge, Nolan wrote that he was truly ashamed of what he had done.
“I hope to tackle my demons head-on when I get released from prison. The happiest years of my life were the seven years with her,” Nolan wrote.
He said he had thrown away seven years of good times with her and he had “only myself to blame”.
Victim didn't recognise herself after attack
Garda Goggin told Katherine McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting, at the previous hearing that the woman described how Nolan had appeared very drunk when she initially met him at his friend's house to sort out the issue.
Nolan destroyed the woman's handbag items by ripping them up and scattering them about the green area and prevented her from seeking help at neighbouring houses with threats and violence.
At one stage during the assault, another woman approached, but Nolan told this witness to mind her own business.
Garda Goggin said another man recorded some of the incident on his phone and later handed this to investigators.
The attack ended when Nolan dragged the woman to his own family home and his relatives intervened.
The court heard the woman didn't recognise herself in the bathroom mirror of this house because her face was so swollen, her hair was matted with blood and her nose and lip were burst.
She eventually went home and spent the remaining early hours and into the next day in her bedroom vomiting and in severe pain.
In a victim impact statement, read out by Ms McGillicuddy, the woman stated that she doesn't talk about what happened and is a lot quieter now.
She revealed she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, neck pain and that her hearing is not the same.
She said she was “happy and trusting" before that night but now she feels trapped in her own head with the memory and can't understand why the attack happened.
Garda Goggin said Nolan admitted in interview that he had been intoxicated and that he was “shocked and ashamed” and felt sick when he saw photos of the injuries he had inflicted. He told gardaí he was heartbroken as he loved the woman.
Garda Goggin agreed with Mr Gageby that his client had been taking alcohol and cocaine on the night.
He agreed that Nolan had not attended for assessment by The Probation Service, saying this was a surprise given that he has abided by his bail conditions and made admissions.
The garda said he thought Nolan seemed to be “fatalistic about what was going to happen”.