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sickening attack Man (30) who broke the mother of his children's nose with a headbutt jailed for three months

The assault in the hallway of her home at Glendallon had been witnessed by the couple's eldest boy, the court heard.

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Jamie Farrell

Jamie Farrell

Jamie Farrell

A 30 year old man has been jailed for three months for breaking the nose of the mother of his two children.

Jamie Farrell of Glendallon, Ballytivnan, Sligo headbutted and punched his ex-partner, Sinead Shannon at her home on the morning of April 18th 2020.

Farrell had been due to babysit the two children to allow Ms Shannon (34) go to work at Sligo University Hospital but he was late.

He subsequently turned up at the house where the incident occurred and Ms Shannon had to go to hospital to be treated.

The assault in the hallway of her home at Glendallon had been witnessed by the couple's eldest boy, aged 7 who picked up his mother's glasses after they were knocked off in the assault by Farrell.

Garda Michael Keane, led by Mr Leo Mulrooney BL instructed by State Solicitor Elisha McHugh outlined how the defendant, who was currently serving a sentence which was due to expire on October 21st, had pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Ms Shannon on June 15th last.

Ms Shannon had got up at 7am on the morning of April 18th to go to work at 8am and Farrell was due to call at 7.30am to mind the children, aged 7 and 4.

When he didn't turn up, Ms Shannon rang him but there was no answer and she called across to his house which was in the same estate at 7.40am.

She was aware he had been out the night before and was probably in bed. She rang him again and left a message on his phone.

She returned to her house and the defendant showed up and she said to him that she could kill him for being late.

"She pushed him slightly on the arm and he said nothing and he then punched in the face with a closed fist which knocked her glasses off with her eldest child going to pick them up.

"The defendant then said the whole street is talking about you in a reference to her calling earlier to her house. He then headbutted Ms Shannon which resulted in her nose bleeding.

"The defendant said he was going to call the Gardaí and left the house," said Mr Mulrooney.

The Garda confirmed that the defendant did not ring the Gardaí.

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Ms Shannon suffered a broken nose, a chipped front tooth and a cut to the inside of her lip. Gardaí responded to a call from Ms Shannon at 7.45am and after treatment at SUH she subsequently made a statement to Gardaí.

On April 19th, Farrell was arrested and taken to Ballymote Garda Station for questioning and he was later charged with assault, brought to a sitting of Letterkenny District Court on April 20th and released on bail.

Farrell told Gardaí that Ms Shannon had got aggressive and got in his way as he tried to leave the house. He said he didn't know where she got her injuries from.

Subsequently, on March 1st this year Farrell was charged with the more serious offence of assault causing harm and was remanded in custody having already being in prison serving a sentence.

Mr Mulrooney said the defendant and Ms Shannon had been in an on/off relationship for about ten years and had two children together.

Farrell gave his version of what happened to Gardaí, a partial admission, not a complete one.

"She was banging on the door saying I was always late and I told her I'd be over in a minute. I went over and she was wading into me and hitting me.

"I went to leave but she blocked me at the front door and I swung her out of the way. I went outside and called the Gardaí," he said.

Asked what kind of force he had used, Farrell replied that it was enough to "get her out of the way." He said Ms Shannon had falled against the stairs.

Asked if he had been injured he replied: "No, not really." He denied punching Ms Shannon or headbutting her saying he had pushed her out of his way.

A medical report from the Emergency Department of SUH was outlined to the court by Mr Mulrooney and it stated Ms Shannon had attended at 10.40am and that her nose was swollen and out of shape with a deviation to the left.

There was also a cut to Ms Shannon's upper lip and a front tooth was chipped. Pictures of the victim's injuries were handed in to court.

In reply to Judge Comerford, Mr Mulrooney said the couple's eldest child, the boy, would have witnessed the assault while their girl may have been in an upstairs room.

A list of previous convictions against the defendant were handed in to court and these included offences such as theft, robbery, burglary, for drugs and one for assault. He had received sentences of between three and six months in prison in the past but had received a term of four years for burglary at Longford Circuit Court.

On March 20th last he received a number of sentences at Sligo District Court and was serving these terms now with a release date in October.

Mr Eoin McGovern BL (defending), instructed by Mr John Anderson, solicitor told the court that Farrell had been fined €200 after his conviction for an assault in 2009 and he described it as minor in nature.

Addressing the offence before the court, Mr McGovern pleaded that what had started out as a petty argument over minding children resulted in harm and hurt.

He pleaded that the assault was not sustained nor was their use of any weapon or any prolonged abuse and the defendant did leave the house.

Mr McGovern said the defendant's partents split when he was young and his grandfather became a role model for him.

When he passed away when the defendant was 18 he became addicted to drugs to numb the pain.

The court was told that while there was a Victim Impact Statement in court, Ms Shannon was not present as she did not wish to attend but was happy for the report to be read out.

She stated that all she was trying to do was go to work in the hospital that morning. She said it was embarrassing how she ended up having to be treated at her place of work.

She still hadn't recovered with further treatment planned for her nose.

The worst aspect of the assault was her children seeing the aftermath, her bloody face. Her eldest now often brought up the assault.

Ms Shannon said she ended up having to leave her job because of the lack of childcare. Farrell never apologised to her.

"His behaviour towards me was callous and he has shown no remorse whatsoever," she said. She may have forgiven him if he had.

Mr McGovern pleaded that the defendant adored his children and regrets the time not being with them. He wants to leave his addiction issues in the past and conveyed his apologies to Ms Shannon.

Mr McGovern also handed in a letter to the court from the defendant's mother.

It outlined how the defendant wished to engage with Aubrey Melville of the charity, Social Groundforce which assisted those with addiction issues.

Mr Melville outlined to the court how Farrell had a history which was typical of someone with chronic addiction issues.

He had been in rehab programmes twice, in 2001 and 2020 but there had been no back-up plan on his release.

The witness said he was in a position to offer this. In the past six weeks he had assisted seven men and 46 since January.

They were monitored on a daily basis through a recovery journal which gave a permanent path to recovery. He would be offering this to Farrell.

The witness told the Judge that he did not have any interaction with Farrell to date.

Mr McGovern said it was in phonecalls to his mother that the defendant expressed an interest in contacting Mr Melville.

The probation service had also indicated a willingness to work with the defendant, added Mr McGovern.

Judge Comerford said the defendant had a large number of previous convictions and he accepted they didn't show a pattern of repeated crimes of violence.

It was life given very much to theft and robbery and certainly of a nature consistent with difficulties to addiction.

It seemed the defendant was not convicted of any offence in 2016, 2017, 2018 or 2019 and though separated he was playing a role in his children's lives with childcare.

With regard to the assault, the Judge said he understood the victim's annoyance with the defendant over being late and he found her account completely truthful and he was satisfied he punched Ms Shannon with a closed fist and headbutted her. It was a spur of the moment assault but that did not lessen the impact of it.

It had also been committed in the presence of his son which was an aggravating factor.

It was an unpremeditated striking out which was serious, "a criminal reaction to circumstances that had irritated him," said the Judge.

He added it wasn't conducted in circumstances of a previous violent relationship.

"It was an attack on a mother in front of a child with two separate blows being struck resulting in three separate injuries," said the Judge.

He added that he was impressed by the evidence of Mr Meville and the great work he was doing and his positive outlook.

His track record of helping those with addiction issues was good.

However, there was no direct evidence that the defendant wished to go down that path with Mr Meville.

Imposing a sentence of twelve months, consecutive to the term the defendant was currently serving, the Judge said the assault, impulsively or not was unacceptable.

Judge Comerford suspended the final nine months of the term for one year on condition that Farrell engages with Mr Meville on his release in order to deal with his addiction issues. He must also enter a bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

The three month prison term begins at the conclusion of Farrell's present sentence which finishes on October 21st.

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