Drunk man who attacked woman in Dunfanaghy avoids jail

January 27, 2023

A man who assaulted a woman so badly that she was unable to recognise herself has avoided jail after paying his victim more than €10,000.

Judge John Aylmer had told Gavin Gallagher that he would suspend his two year prison sentence if he paid his victim Dearbla Adams €10,000.

Gallagher attacked Ms Adams after downing ten pints and five shorts during an all-day drinking session.

The 27-year-old left the pub and then insulted Ms Adams as she was waiting to be collected with her boyfriend by her mother in the village of Dunfanaghy.

When her boyfriend objected to Gallagher’s insults, a row ensued.

During the incident on the night of June 25th, 2018, Gallagher viciously assaulted Mr Adams.

She was rushed to hospital where she suffered serious damage to her front teeth and face.

She revealed that when looked in the mirror and didn’t recognise herself because her injuries were so severe with swelling and abrasions.

In her victim impact statement Ms Adams said she still suffers flashbacks and has nightmares and “felt like a shell of a human just waking up to go back to sleep again.”

Gallagher had apologised to his victim saying: “I would like to sincerely apologise to Dearbhla and I never intended to cause her any harm. I’m extremely sorry.”

Gallagher, of Greenhill, Dunfanaghy, pleaded guilty to one charge of assault causing harm at Letterkenny Circuit Court in January 2021.

He had previously paid €6,300 to cover Ms Adams’ dental expenses.

Judge John Aylmer said the psychological effects of the attack on Ms Adams were even more concerning as the physical hurt as bad as her injuries were.

He said: “He admitted to his involvement and assault, he inflicted an appalling injury on this young lady. His only explanation is that he was out of his mind in drink on the night and that is what caused him to behave like an utter thug.”

He added that he placed the offence in the mid-range of such offences and that it merited a sentence of three years in prison.

However, on mitigation, Gallagher was a relatively young man with no previous convictions, came from a good family, was a hard worker, was remorseful and had come to court with €6,300 to offer his victim.

Judge Aylmer indicated that he would impose a two year jail sentence on Gallagher but suspend it in full if he paid his victim €10,000.

His barrister, Mr Peter Nolan, told the court this week that the balance of the money had been handed into court.

Judge Aylmer said he would do as he had indicated and suspended the sentence ordering Gallagher to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a period of 12 months.