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'Horrified' Hammer attacker freed after just six months leaving victim 'terrified'

"I'm just horrified. How can he be let out so early?" she asked. "I'm living in my house terrified, grills on the window"

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John Nevin after his release after being in jail since April 23.

John Nevin after his release after being in jail since April 23.

John Nevin after his release after being in jail since April 23.

A WOMAN who was attacked by a ­hammer-wielding thug is ­horrified that her assailant is free after serving less than half his sentence.

John Nevin was met by family ­members after walking free from the Midlands Prison having been sentenced to 12 months only last May.

The reunion was captured on a video sent to Julie McDonagh, who was left battered by Nevin after his daylight attack on a busy Mullingar shopping street.

"I'm just horrified. How can he be let out so early?" she asked. "I'm living in my house terrified, grills on the window," she told the Sunday World this week.

Nevin emerged from the prison with his belongings in a plastic bag and gave the thumbs up as his lift arrived in Portlaoise.

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John Nevin said he ‘panicked’ when he saw the women arguing.

John Nevin said he ‘panicked’ when he saw the women arguing.

John Nevin said he ‘panicked’ when he saw the women arguing.

There were tears as he hugged family members after being in custody since April 23.

It is likely Nevin was granted temporary ­release for personal reasons, sources say. The Irish Prison Service said it does not comment on individual prisoner cases.

His victim Julie McDonagh - who was injured alongside her daughter in the ­attack - said she is now looking for a Garda Ombudsman investigation into how the case was handled.

The assault in February last year on a busy shopping street was caught on CCTV and innocent children are seen to pass by immediately after the attack.

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Nevin emerges from his car and approaches the women.

Nevin emerges from his car and approaches the women.

Nevin emerges from his car and approaches the women.

Julie McDonagh and her daughter ­Tracey were left battered and terrified by the assault which happened after a heated exchange with Nevin's wife.

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Nevin told gardaí he "panicked" when he got out of his car fearing for his wife.

Both victims told the court they thought Nevin was going to kill them and the attack has had a long-lasting effect on them.

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John Nevin's victim Julie McDonagh.

John Nevin's victim Julie McDonagh.

John Nevin's victim Julie McDonagh.

"I don't feel safe in my own home anymore. We had to get TV cameras installed in our home since this happened," Julie said.

Judge Keenan Johnson, in sentencing, said he did not accept Nevin's excuse that he was in a heightened state of anxiety and didn't know what he was doing.

He said that Nevin could easily have taken his wife out of the situation without using a hammer and inflicting significant injuries on the victims.

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The physical injuries Julie Quinn McDonagh suffered from.

The physical injuries Julie Quinn McDonagh suffered from.

The physical injuries Julie Quinn McDonagh suffered from.

Having seen CCTV footage of the incident Judge Johnson said he was "not convinced the actions of the accused were all in defence of his wife."

He described the assault as "a particularly violent attack".

"It is clear both victims were badly affected, their sense of security, their confidence have been totally undermined.

"There can be little doubt the negative effects of the assault by the accused was life changing for both victims."

Taking into account Nevin had made an early guilty plea, his commitment to his ­family and apologies to the victims, he ­reduced the sentence from a headline ­sentence of four years.

Imposing a two-and-a-half year sentence, Judge Johnson also suspended the final 18-months for a period of ten years.

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