Another victim of Waterford gang fears she won’t get justice
A WOMAN who was left with horrific burn injuries after being set on fire by her ex-boyfriend fears her attacker may never face prosecution.
An associate of Michael ‘Mongo’ Stokes and his cousin Patrick Stokes was arrested over the sickening attack last June and a file was prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
It is understood he admitted to gardai that he set the woman on fire, but claimed it was an accident.
The man had been in a relationship with the woman, but they had a falling out.
In a shocking act of savagery, she says he set fire to a bowl of nail polish remover while her hand was in it.
The highly flammable substance ignited and caused devastating burn injuries to the young woman. She was hospitalised and had to get skin grafts over the incident.
The victim, who asked not to be named due to threats against her, told the Sunday World: “I thought I was dying. The marks are all over me. It’s heartbreaking.”
She now fears her attacker will walk free despite admitting his involvement in the incident.
“He admitted doing it, but said it was an accident. He sent me messages afterward calling me names and everything. I gave these to the guards.”
She also told how when she went to make a statement, a garda warned her they couldn’t protect her 24/7.
“I felt I was pushed away at first,” the woman said.
“I went up and walked out of the station crying because I didn’t know what to do. They [the Gardai] said: ‘We can’t stay outside your house 24/7.’ I didn’t know whether I was wrong or right to make the complaint.”
She eventually spoke to another garda and pressed ahead with the complaint.
Gardai arrested and questioned the suspect and prepared a file for the DPP. However, more than seven months later he has still not been charged.
The victim now fears her attacker will not face prosecution as other associates of her attacker have either been acquitted or had charges against them dropped in recent months.
Late last year, Mongo Stokes was acquitted of a vicious hammer attack on local woman Danielle Halligan – who said in court Mongo attacked her because of money she owed to an illegal loan shark business.
Earlier this year the DPP dropped charges against Greg Hennessy, who had been charged with a petrol bomb attack which left Danielle’s young nieces
Roisin and Lexie with serious burn injuries.
CCTV evidence showed he was in a different location when the horror attack occurred.
The Halligan family previously told the Sunday World they fear no-one will ever be prosecuted for that sickening attack.
The woman who suffered burn injuries in the nail polish attack fears the same.
“You’ve had a woman attacked with a hammer in the face, children being burnt, me being burnt, but no-one has faced justice. This isn’t small stuff.
“They’re running Waterford now because they know they’re getting away with things. That’s what makes people not want to go ahead with pressing charges.
“After everything I’ve done the way I see it I might as well still be with him getting tortured, because whatever I’ve done is not going to change anything.
“In Limerick they took the Dundons down, why can’t the guards in Waterford take these guys down?”
She added that she feared the lack of prosecutions will deter other people from coming forward.
“It’s going to change because people will say not one of them went away,” she said.
“People will worry that they’re not going to get sent away and then you’ll have them on your back for the rest of your life.”
The woman added that it is sickening that the majority of people targeted by the gang are women and children. She said she will not give up on getting justice.
“I’m not giving up. I can’t let them win. I’d rather die than let him get away with it.”
Gardai have had one success in recent weeks when gang member Patrick Stokes was jailed for 18 months with nine months suspended for an assault.
Stokes (34), from Ardmore Park, has 30 previous convictions and has been involved in a number of feuds in the city over the years.
He will be back on the streets later this year.
Last year the Sunday World revealed how members of the
Waterford mob shot a sickening video of a captured fox being savaged by dogs as they are ‘blooded’ by their owners.
The shocking scenes show the terrified fox being torn limb from limb by seven blood-crazed dogs in front of a cheering crowd.
It is believed the dogs are being trained to kill by their owners – known as ‘blooding’ – for illegal dogfights or other blood sports.