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Man (41) with 223 previous convictions who slashed partner with kitchen knife is jailed

The woman has since died, unrelated to the assault and no victim impact statement was prepared for the case.

The Rosie Hackett Bridge where Johnson was found. Library image

Sonya McLean

A man who slashed his partner’s face with a large kitchen knife following a row in a public park has been jailed for five years.

Eddie Johnson (41) of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to the woman in Wolfe Tone Park in Dublin on April 28, 2020.

Johnson has 223 previous convictions for offences including assault, criminal damage, public order, drugs, failure to appear, possession of knives, burglary, theft, handling stolen property, robbery and violent disorder.

The woman has since died, unrelated to the assault and no victim impact statement was prepared for the case.

Evidence was first heard in the case in June last year and was adjourned by Judge Melaine Greally to allow for the preparation of a report from the Probation Service.

Today, Judge Greally said it was a serious and significant stabbing which took place in the context of an intimate relationship.

She said the knife was used in a particularly vicious way and was inevitably going to lead to lasting scarring.

The judge took into account that Johnson also had convictions for other violent offences and possession of weapons.

She took into account evidence that Johnson is now at a point in his life in which he is ready to address his addiction.

Judge Greally said there was “a comprehensive” probation report before the court which concluded that Johnson was at a high risk of re-offending in a violent way and noted that it was recommended that he be under supervision for a minimum of two years.

The judge set a headline sentence of seven and half years before she took into account mitigating factors including his plea of guilty, expression of genuine remorse and extremely difficult childhood.

She also noted that he had engaged with drug services in prison and is doing well while on remand.

Judge Greally imposed a sentence of six years and suspended the final 12 months on strict conditions including that Johnson engage with the Probation Service for two years and take any course or therapies recommended to him including “intimate partner violence” and anger management.

Johnson is also to report “any new intimate relationships” to the Probation Service and attend for drug and alcohol intervention as recommended.

Detective Garda PJ Gallagher told Monika Leech BL, prosecuting, at the earlier hearing last year that the woman was left with a 12cm wound on her forehead and an additional 5cm wound under her right eye.

The cuts were deep but there was no injury to her eye. She needed 17 stitches on her forehead and three on her cheek.

Medical professionals concluded the woman would be left with significant scarring.

Det Gda Gallagher said a search was conducted in the surrounding area immediately following the attack and Johnson was found on the nearby Rosie Hackett Bridge.

The Criminal Courts of Justice

He was wearing the same clothing as the man in the footage. Two large kitchen knives, one of which was blood stained, were discovered in a blue bag that had been placed in a nearby flower box.

Det Gda Gallagher said that gardaí were alerted to the attack by a witness who spotted the couple arguing from his apartment which overlooked the park.

The same person had also videoed the incident on his phone which he later provided to gardaí. That footage was played to the court during the sentence hearing.

The witness later told gardaí his attention was drawn to the park when he heard two people shouting. He saw a man and a woman arguing.

The woman walked away but continued to shout at the man who then followed her to the bench she was sitting on.

The witness noticed that man had a long kitchen type knife with him before he saw him hold it in a position to stab and then make a slashing motion against the woman’s face.

She put up her arm to the front of her face and the witness could hear her “wailing and crying”.

The woman later told gardaí that she had been in an on and off relationship with Johnson for a number of years. #

They had been drinking together earlier in the city centre when they were moved on by gardaí.

She said they had been sitting in the park when a man approached Johnson and handed him two knives. The woman told gardaí she tried to take the knives off him but he said his DNA would be on them.

She said she told Johnson “Go on slit my throat. I know you want to” before they began arguing.

She recalled Johnson jumping up and pulling the knife out before “he sliced me across the face, forehead and eye”.

She said it happened so quickly and she could see Johnson realised how bad it was and what he had done before he ran off.

Det Gda Gallagher agreed with Fiona Murphy SC, defending, that both Johnson and the woman had gone through periods of homelessness and were addicted to alcohol and drugs.

Ms Murphy said her client was fully remorseful and ashamed and grieves deeply for the woman.

“He fully recognises the abhorrence of his reaction to a row,” Ms Murphy said before she asked Judge Greally to accept that her client was under the influence of alcohol and has a “very limited violent offending in his history”.

She said he was exposed to criminality and drug use at a very young age and began experimenting with drugs in his early teens.

“His life has been blighted by addiction,” Ms Murphy continued.

Counsel said her client’s parents both had substance abuse issues and his father spent time in prison.

She said Johnson “feels significant guilt that he was not there with her (the victim) in her final hours”.

He had written a letter to her apologising for the attack and had also written a letter to the court.

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