‘A COWARDLY and callous act’ was how a Circuit Court Judge described the attack on a Westport woman by her former partner who was jailed for two years for the offence.
Tom Collins (20) of no fixed abode but originally from Westport pleaded guilty to the assault of his former partner and mother of his two-year-old daughter at last week’s sitting of Castlebar Circuit Court.
The offence occurred on August 2, 2011 in an apartment in the Quay area of Westport when Mr Collins punched the woman repeatedly in the face, held his arm around her neck and told her they were both going to die that night.
A Victim Impact Statement stated that she was terrified of the thought of seeing Mr Collins when he is released from prison and that she has suffered from depression.
Garda Seamus Kelly explained that the victim did not suffer any broken bones in the assault but stated that when he saw her that night she was distraught and injured. Mr Collins who was 19 at the time of the offence has 21 previous convictions and is currently serving a six month prison sentence since March but has been in custody since last October.
The court heard that Mr Collins’ life had taken a turn for the worse following the tragic death of his father when he was 15 and he had started drinking and getting into trouble. His legal representative said that while he was in prison he has taken steps to rehabilitate himself and he ‘wants to turn the corner’.
Judge Thomas E O’Donnell was asked to adopt ‘the last chance principle’ when sentencing to allow the defendant some light at the end of the tunnel.
In sentencing, Judge O’Donnell said he had considered adopting this principle but said the incident was too serious describing it as a ‘cowardly and callous act’ and that hitting a woman was unacceptable.
He said the victim impact statement made for ‘chilling reading’ and sentenced Mr Collins to two years imprisonment, suspending the last six months on the condition he has no contact with the injured party post release.