A MAN who subjected his then partner to a ‘vicious and very violent onslaught’ has been given a chance to avoid prison.

Dean Crockford (32), a former resident of 13 The Hawthorns, Buncrana, was before Letterkenny Circuit Court for assault causing harm to Philomena McInaw at the address on October 6, 2017.

Fiona Crawford BL, prosecuting, told the court that Gardai were called to a dispute in the early hours. 

Ms Crawford said that Gardaí found Ms McInaw with abrasions to her lip and jaw and swelling to her jaw, which were the result of an assault.

The court heard that Crockford, who was in a relationship with Ms McInaw for almost five years, kicked the victim ‘out of the blue’ to the upper thigh after they had returned from a trip to Derry with their young daughter. 

Ms McInaw ordered Crockford to leave the house. 

Upon his return, Ms McInaw asked Crockford why he had kicked her. In a statement to Gardaí, Ms McInaw said Crockford suddenly punched her to the right eye and got hold of her.

Crockford was described as ’steaming’ when he re-appeared. MsMcInaw tripped as she attempted to run out of the house before making her escape into a neighbouring garden.

Medical reports noted that McInaw had been elbowed to the face and had suffered a possible loss of consciousness. She had swelling to her lower jaw, an abrasion to her lower lip, swelling and an abrasion on her lower chin. 

Crockford appeared to Buncrana Garda Station where he admitted the assault.

Crockford failed to appear at a subsequent sitting of Buncrana District Court and a European arrest warrant was executed last month. He has been in custody since. 

Barrister for Crockford, Peter Nolan BL, said his client was anxious to have the matter put behind him. 

“He knows that it is a serious matter and knows that he shouldn’t have done it,” Mr Nolan, who submitted two references on behalf of his client, said.

“He has shown remorse and has apologised. He has a job available and wants to put this behind him.” 

Crockford, who now works as a scaffolder in England, had stopped maintenance payments following this incident but said he was keen to resume that arrangement.

Addressing the court, Crockford, apologised for the incident. “It should never have happened,” said Crockford, who said he wanted to ‘bond again’ with his daughter.  

Judge John Aylmer said the photographs illustrating Ms McInaw’s injuries ‘speak loudly as to the level of assault suffered’.

Judge Aylmer said: “It persisted over a period of time. It was a vicious and very violent onslaught.”

The Judge said the case must be marked by a custodial sentence and noted that his starting point for sentencing was a three-and-a-half-year prison term.  Noting Crockford’s early plea and his full admissions, Judge Aylmer reduced that to two-and-a-half years.

Judge Aylmer took into account Crockford’s guilty plea and that he was before the court without previous or subsequent convictions.

Judge Aylmer said that ‘all of the boxes are ticked’ with regard to giving Crockford a second chance, however he expressed concern with the lack of a ‘demonstration of remorse’ from the accused.

“That makes me pause and I will give an opportunity to put before the court a concrete demonstration of his remorse,” Judge Aylmer said. 

The Judge ordered that a sum of at least €7,500 be paid to the victim and he adjourned sentencing for 12 months. Judge Aylmer warned Crockford to have maintenance payments to his former partner up to date.


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