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Man who assaulted woman in front of her children avoids jail

A man who assaulted his partner in front of her children in a Dublin hotel room has been giving a fully-suspended two-year sentence by Dublin’s Judge Martin Nolan.

Matthew Telford (32) of Armeed Green, Downpatrick, Co. Down, was at the Carlton Hotel in Tyrrelstown with his then partner in August of 2019. The woman’s 11-year-old son and 4-year-old son were also present.

Reportedly, Detective Garda John Hayes told prosecuting barrister Edward Doocey that Telford had asked the 11-year-old boy to turn off the air conditioning, at which point “an argument broke out.”

At that point, Telford, who was slightly intoxicated, squeezed the woman’s face and jaw and threw her to the bed. He then grabbed her by the hair and threw her to the floor, at which pointed he began to slap and kick her legs.

Defending barrister Rebecca Smith said that alcohol “played a factor” in the assault, but also acknowledged that this was not an excuse for her client’s behaviour.

Detective Garda Hayes said that in the midst of the assault, the woman in question tripped and put out her arm to break her fall. Upon landing, she badly broke her wrist, with the injury later requiring surgery to insert steel wires into the affected area.

At that point the woman’s 11-year-old son ran down to the hotel’s reception to inform staff of what had happened. When they returned to the room, they found that the woman was injured with redness on her face and neck, holding her injured wrist. Her younger child was also with her.

The woman made a statement to Gardaí several weeks later, at which point Telford agreed to meet with them and confessed to the attack.

Doocey told the court that the State accepted that the woman had broken her wrist after she tripped, and that Telford’s plea to assault causing harm is “on the basis of recklessness.”

Telford, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the charge of assault causing harm.

Reportedly, Telford is now living with his mother and has written an apology letter to the victim. He also had €4,000 in court to offer the victim as compensation for her loss of earnings due to her wrist injury.

Defending barrister Rebecca Smith said that her client will feel genuine remorse over what happened “for the rest of his life,” and asked the court to give Telford “a chance.”

Speaking on the case, Judge Martin Nolan said that Telford had become “hostile and aggressive” at the time of the incident, though he acknowledged that the accused did not intend to injure the victim’s wrist intentionally.

“It was an unprovoked, shameful and cowardly attack,” the Judge said.

However, he stated his belief that Telford was unlikely to offend again, and as such did not deserve an immediate custodial sentence.

Judge Nolan handed Telford two years in prison, fully-suspended, on the condition that he give the woman the €4,000 compensation, and a further €5,000 over the next two years. He also said that if the victim did not want the money, it could be given to a local charity instead.

Last week the irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) called for the government to urgently address violence against women, which they say has reached “crisis levels in Ireland.”

Gript previously questioned Justice Minister Helen McEntee on sentencing in the Irish courts, particularly regarding cases involving alleged violence against women. The link to her response can be found below.







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