Longford District Court: Stabbed mother of two in the head

Court hears defendant couldn't control himself

Longford Leader

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A man who appeared before Longford District Court last week charged in connection with a serious assault on a woman outside the post office in Longford town during the summer, was ordered to pay €1,650 in compensation to the victim.

The defendant was also ordered to engage with the Probation Service and “stay out of trouble”.

James Donoghue (25), Oghil, Drumlish, Longford appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes charged with assaulting Alisha Nugent and causing her harm at An Post, Main Street, Longford on August 30, 2017.

In her direct evidence to the court, Ms Nugent recalled the date of the incident.

She said she had been standing inside the door of the post office with her two small children waiting for her boyfriend when Mr Donoghue came along and stabbed her.

“He had a knife and tried to cut me into the face with the knife,” Ms Nugent told Judge Hughes, before pointing out that she subsequently tried to grab the knife, but the defendant overpowered her and went on to stab her in the head.

“He grabbed me and I fell down and he stabbed me three times on top of my head,” she said.

“My boyfriend tried to intervene then, and I got up and ran into the post office.”

Meanwhile, the injured party told the court that she recalled “blood everywhere” and “blood dripping down on me”.

“My children were hysterical at this stage, but Mr Donoghue ran off,” she continued.

“I have no idea why he did this to me.”

Ms Nugent then told Judge Hughes that she had been in a relationship with the defendant’s father and together the couple had one son who is now nine-years-old.

The court heard that the couple eventually went their separate ways, but Mr Donoghue’s father “took to the drink” and subsequently died.

“Your Honour, I will leave this court here today and I will still be in fear of him,” Ms Nugent continued.

The defendant’s solicitor Frank Gearty then provided some background information to the court.

He said that while his client was pleading guilty to the offence, there had been an incident back in 2011 where the defendant had been wrongly accused of taking a horse, and this had been a matter that played heavily on his mind over the years.

“All of those involved in this are related through marriage, etc,” Mr Gearty added, before pointing out that the defendant had been diagnosed with a personality disorder and was “completely intoxicated” at the time of the offence before the court.

“He knows that he is very fortunate in that the poor victim in this case did not suffer more serious injuries.

“His father died prematurely as a result of drink.”

Meanwhile, the defendant addressed Judge Hughes directly.

“I was intoxicated that day; I saw her [Alisha Nugent] at the post office and I couldn’t control myself,” he added.

“My father would never have drank as much as he did if he hadn’t been so hung up on Alisha; they broke up and he hit the hard stuff.”

In mitigation, Mr Gearty said his client had been engaging with an addiction counsellor in recent times and this proved very helpful to him.

“He has also brought €1,000 to court by means of compensation,” the solicitor continued.

Ms Nugent then said she didn’t want the money.

“I don’t want the money Your Honour,” she fumed.

“I just want to walk the streets in peace with my little children.”

During his ruling on the matter Judge Hughes indicated that €650 which had been put up as bond money initially by the defendant’s mother also be released to Ms Nugent alongside the €1,000.

“I know Ms Nugent that you don’t want the money but just take it as a means of compensation,” added Judge Hughes, before addressing the defendant.

“Mr Donoghue, you do not go around stabbing the mother of children,” the Judge fumed.

“I am not sending you to prison today but I am going to get a Probation Report to see what exactly is going on here.

“If there is any trouble between now and your next court appearance, report it to the Gardaí, do you understand?.”

The matter was subsequently adjourned to allow the Probation Service time to compile a report for the Judge.

Mr Donoghue will appear back at Longford District Court in January.