Woman who hit partially-paralysed victim with wine bottle sentenced

CourtsBy Sunday World
Woman who hit partially-paralysed victim with wine bottle sentenced

A Dublin mother-of-one who hit a partially-paralysed woman over the head with a wine bottle during an aggravated burglary has been given a seven-year sentence.

Grace Tormey (22) was unanimously convicted by a jury after a four-day trial earlier this month.

Detective Garda Darragh Phelan said that the victim, Lisa Lee, had been a reluctant witness and gave evidence after a warrant had been issued for her arrest. He said she had previously suffered a stroke and had been paralysed on one side during the attack.

Tormey, of Parnell Street, Sallynoggin, Dublin had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to aggravated burglary at Rollins Villas, Sallynoggin on November 16, 2012. She has 15 previous convictions, including two assault offences at circuit court level.

Ciaran O'Loughlin SC, defending, said Tormey accepted the verdict of the jury and that she had written a letter to the court expressing her regret. He asked the court to consider this offence as part of a “wild and uncontrolled” part of her life prior to her maturing when she became a mother.

Judge Patricia Ryan took into account Tormey's young age and noted a probation report outlining her family circumstances which included several tragedies. She imposed a seven-year sentence and suspended the final two-and-a-half years.

Det Gda Phelan told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that Ms Lee and her partner had barricaded themselves in an upstairs bedroom after hearing thudding on the front door that night.

The partner, Jason Kelly, jumped out of the window to seek help but the bedroom door was subsequently broken in.

Tormey entered with a man and pulled Ms Lee to the ground. She kicked and punched the victim and pulled out clumps of her hair during an attack which lasted up to three minutes.

Ms Lee later told gardai she'd seen glass all over the floor after Tormey hit her in the head with a wine bottle and that there had been a knife in the male's hand.

She also noticed that a TV was missing after the incident.

Gardai arrived on the scene, saw blood on the floor and found Tormey appearing to assist Ms Lee.

Ms Lee initially told gardai that nothing had happened, but later revealed that Tormey had attacked her when officers visited her in hospital and took photos of her injuries. She said she had known Tormey for a number of years from her area.

Tormey denied in her first interviews that she had had any involvement and claimed that her DNA would not be found on the bottle.

She later claimed she had "boxed" the victim after Ms Lee had come at her with a syringe.

Det Gda Phelan said Tormey then admitted she had been drinking from the bottle after forensics matched her DNA to it, but continued to deny she had brought it into Ms Lee's home.

The detective told Ms Small that there was no victim impact statement in court, but that Ms Lee had said in evidence that she relived the incident every day.

He agreed with Ciaran O'Loughlin SC, defending, that Tormey had a serious drink and drugs problem around the time of the offence.

Det Gda Phelan accepted that Tormey had since tried to address these issues, which began after a tragic family bereavement.

Aoife Nic Ardghail/Fiona Ferguson