UK: Tyrone man facing life for chainsaw attack

A man is facing a possible life sentence today for attacking his solicitor wife with a chainsaw, leaving her needing 50 stitches to her head and surgery to reattach an ear.

A man is facing a possible life sentence today for attacking his solicitor wife with a chainsaw, leaving her needing 50 stitches to her head and surgery to reattach an ear.

Patrick Darragh, 52, admits inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent on wife Claire Bates at their secluded Northamptonshire home in the British midlands in May this year.

The civil engineer, who was also jailed in 1998 for slashing his then-partner across the throat, attacked Ms Bates with a chainsaw during an argument outside Denford Lodge Cottages in Denford, near Thrapston.

Darragh, originally from Co Tyrone, had faced a charge of attempted murder, which he denied.

He pleaded guilty to GBH when he appeared at Northampton Crown Court last month.

The 1998 attack was “chillingly reminiscent” of the attack on Ms Bates, added Timothy Spencer QC, prosecuting.

Judge Charles Wide QC adjourned the case for an assessment of Darragh’s level of danger, to his partner or to the public in general. He said he was considering a life sentence or an indefinite sentence for public protection.

The judge said: “He has a long history of violence towards partners, in fact serious violence.”

Darragh became involved in a furious row with Ms Bates, his wife for the past seven years.

He was arrested soon after, when a member of the public reported seeing a woman covered in blood.

Ms Bates has previously worked for the Crown Prosecution Service, and Northampton Borough Council and Northamptonshire County Council’s legal service departments.

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