Daughter of killer locked up for brutal attack that left man disabled

Melissa Whelan
Melissa Whelan

A WOMAN whose father is serving life for murder was sentenced to 12 years yesterday, with three suspended, for a horrific attack on a man which has left him disabled.

Melissa Whelan admitted a sustained attack on the 28-year-old man, who had previously suffered brain damage in a car accident.

At the sentencing, Judge O’Donnell condemned the “level of violence and savagery” adding that a lengthy sentence was warranted.

The 25-year-old mother of four, from Moyross in Limerick, admitted in court to the attack at a house party two years ago that left Warren Fitzgerald with serious injuries.

Fitzgerald spent several months in hospital after being placed in an induced coma due to the traumatic brain injury he suffered.

During proceedings it was heard in court that Fitzgerald can no longer live independently and has difficulty speaking.

The pair, who knew each other, went to a party at an apartment off the Ennis Road, Limerick, in May 2015.

Witnesses told Gardaí that during the early hours Whelan hit Fitzgerald with a glass bottle across the face, before pulling him off a chair and then punching and kicking him.

A garda was told how Fitzgerald did not react to the first blow and then didn’t appear to make any attempt to defend himself.

Whelan later dragged him to the ground floor patio before leaving in a taxi.

The following day Gardaí discovered a blood-stained hoodie and bottle, a phone and a wallet belonging to the victim at Whelan’s address in Moyross.

They had been alerted at 7am by a neighbour at the apartment complex, who reported seeing the injured man lying on the patio.

He was rushed to University Hospital Limerick, but then transferred to Cork where emergency surgery was carried out.

Gardaí gave evidence that they did not believe he had been violent towards Whelan, or another woman who was at the party, but she may have become agitated when he hugged her friend.

During five interviews with investigating Gardaí, Whelan admitted to being drunk and having taken tablets, but claimed another woman had also been involved.

In court her lawyers read out a handwritten statement from her in which she made her “sincere” apologies to the victim and his family.

It was also mentioned that she was the mother of four children and had herself been the victim of violence at the hands of an ex-partner.

Her father, Gerard Hayes, was convicted in 2003 of murdering John Robinson (20), in January 2000.