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'Too long' Man who tried to bludgeon sleeping wife to death wants shorter sentence for cooperation

Today, the Court of Appeal was told that the sentenced imposed by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy in April 2014 was “too long and disproportionate."

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Andrzej Benko

Andrzej Benko

Andrzej Benko

A husband who tried to bludgeon his sleeping wife to death with a hammer on her birthday wants a shorter sentence for cooperating with gardaí, the Court of Appeal was told today.

Andrzej Benko (50) had pleaded not guilty to attempting to murder Joanna Benko at their house at Ladyswell Road, Mulhuddart, Dublin on July 5, 2010.

But a jury found him guilty following a trial at the Central Criminal Court and he was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment.

Benko later lost an appeal against his conviction.

Today, the Court of Appeal was told that the sentenced imposed by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy in April 2014 was “too long and disproportionate."

Although Dean Kelly SC, for Benko, conceded the injuries inflicted by his client were horrific, he said the sentencing judge had given insufficient regard to mitigating factors and Benko’s personal circumstances when imposing the 15-year term.

Mr Kelly said his client had been “at the end of his tether with his drug-addicted wife” after finding drugs in his car and had been concerned about his toddler son’s welfare when he attacked her with the hammer as she slept.

When he was arrested, Mr Kelly said Benko told gardaí he deserved to go to jail for what he had done; while a psychological assessment later indicated Benko was a at low-risk of re-offending.

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Andrzej Benko at Dublin Central Criminal Court. Picture: Collins Courts

Andrzej Benko at Dublin Central Criminal Court. Picture: Collins Courts

Andrzej Benko at Dublin Central Criminal Court. Picture: Collins Courts

The trial judge, counsel continued, appeared not to take into account his client’s co-operation with gardaí after his arrest.

“That is wrong,” Mr Kelly said.

Dominic McGinn SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said the fact proceedings in the case were still ongoing 11 years after the attack and seven years after the conviction indicated Benko has never shown any remorse for his actions.

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“Mrs Benko was vulnerable, effectively defenceless and was attacked by the one person she was entitled to place an enormous amount of trust in, her husband,” Mr McGinn said.

The defendant’s not guilty plea was of “enormous significance”, the prosecution counsel noted, and “as a result (Benko) cannot be afforded any degree of credit in sentencing”.

Before reserving judgment, Mr Justice George Birmingham said the fact that there had been an intent to kill had placed the offence into “a very specific category”.

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