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Brutal attack Longford mum 'lucky to be alive' after gardai found ex-partner strangling her

"If I hadn't that gut feeling to leave the front door ajar for the guards I know I wouldn't be here today"

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Brendan Kellegher

Brendan Kellegher

Brendan Kellegher

A mother of three has told of how she is lucky to be alive after quick thinking gardai found her ex partner strangling her in bed over a year ago.

Karen Galvin said she would not be able to relive the moments which led up to an incident at her home in Co Longford in September 2019 had gardai not arrived on the scene when they did.

Ms Galvin told a sitting of Longford Circuit Criminal Court of how being pinned to a bed and choked by her then partner Brendan Kellegher (33), Drumlish Hill, Drumlish, Co Longford had left her with everyday emotional, mental and psychological scars.

Mr Kellegher pleaded guilty to assault.

"If I hadn't that gut feeling to leave the front door ajar for the guards I know I wouldn't be here today," she said.

"I'd be dead, plain and simple."

Ms Galvin, who is now in a new relationship and recently given birth to twins, said the trauma of what happened had left her with a deep hatred of the accused.

"It's not normal that I break into a sweat still coming into Longford," she told Mr Kelleher.

"Even the thought of it makes me physically sick and I despise you for that."

The court heard how gardai had called to a domestic violence incident at 17 Battery Road, Longford on September 9, 2019.

Garda Shane O'Connor said on arrival and after finding the front door slightly ajar, the accused was observed lying on top of the victim with one hand gripped around Ms Galvin's neck and the other covering her mouth.

He said after pulling Mr Kellegher off Ms Galvin, he said the young Longford mother was in an "extremely distressed state", unable to communicate with fingerprint marks clearly visible around both her neck and face.

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The court was told Mr Kellegher, who was later charged with a Section 3 assault on Ms Galvin, had previously been convicted of breaching a barring order against Ms Galvin in February 2015.

It was also revealed Mr Kellegher had over half a dozen previous convictions to his name, all fuelled by an addiction to alcohol which the accused had also engaged in on the day of the assault on Ms Galvin.

Mr Kellegher expressed remorse over the incident and alluded to his own attempts to rehabilitate himself by undergoing a three month alcohol addiction treatment programme in Cuan Mhuire.

"I am truly sorry," he told Judge Keenan Johnson.

"It should never have happened, especially to the mother of my child. I am ashamed to sit here and say I done that."

Judge Johnson took issue with Mr Kellegher's expression of apology and questioned a letter detailing that level of remorse from the defendant to his victim in which the general operative apologised with the words "If I hurt you".

He said: "How do you explain to your daughter what you did to her mother?"

Judge Johnson adjourned sentencing until October 5 2021 for the preparation of a probation report.

If deemed positive, the court was told a two and a half year sentence would be handed down and suspended for ten years provided Mr Kellegher adhered to a number of strict conditions.

They included entering into a bond to be of good behaviour, to have no contact with Ms Galvin, to remain alcohol free, to engage with the probation services and to commence an anger management programme for men.

A "tokenistic" €2,000 was handed into court by means of compensation to Ms Galvin with Mr Kellegher ordered to gather a further €5,000 when the case returns in October.

"The keys to prison are in your hands," Judge Johnson told Mr Kellegher.

The case is expected to return before a sitting of Longford Circuit Criminal Court on October 5 2021.

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