A violent criminal who told his then partner that he would “rip” their unborn daughter from her as he punched and kicked her in the stomach has been jailed for 13 years by a judge at the Central Criminal Court.
Dean Paget (34) pleaded guilty to attempting to murder his former partner Lisa Ward and accepted the facts in relation to a charge of intentionally ending the life of a foetus - his own unborn child.
At a sentencing hearing on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Justice Paul McDermott said a headline sentence of 20 years would be appropriate for such “vicious violence” coupled with “appalling threats” to Ms Ward and their baby. But, he said he would make a substantial reduction after taking into account Paget’s guilty plea and his attempts to deal with his drug and alcohol issues.
He sentenced Paget to 14 years with the final 12 months suspended for two years on condition Paget work with probation services and continue to deal with his drug and alcohol addiction.
Paget, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to attempting to murder Lisa Ward on April 25th, 2021, at Montague Lane in Dublin city centre. The court also took into account a charge of intentionally ending the life of a foetus, threatening to kill Ms Ward and their baby and the false imprisonment of Ms Ward. The court heard further evidence on Tuesday that, during a prolonged final assault after they had entered their tent on Montague Lane, Paget suffocated and choked his victim, punched her when she cried out and told her this was the moment she was going to die.
Mr Justice McDermott said CCTV footage showed Paget subjecting Ms Ward to a “series of vicious assaults and appalling threats to her own life and her baby’s life”.
He said that Paget had struck her repeatedly, kicked her “viciously in the abdomen”, punched her in the abdomen and dragged her by the hair. The violence he used was “severe and terrifying,” he said, and his threats to her included threats to kill Ms Ward. Her referenced the child by the name they had chosen, Ruby Rose, and said he would: “Rip her out of you.”
The physical and emotional effects on the victim are harrowing, the judge said, and will endure for the rest of her life. Paget had betrayed whatever trust she may have had in him and had shown “no regard for her dignity as a human being or that she was the mother of an expected child”.
His actions, the judge said, were from intoxication and a misplaced jealousy in that he falsely believed someone else to be the child’s father.
The main mitigating factor, Mr Justice McDermott said, is the guilty plea which saved Ms Ward from the “appalling trauma of having to relive these events in public”. The judge also noted Paget’s “genuine remorse”, admissions he made to gardaí, his significant drug and alcohol problems and violence he had witnessed as a child.
He imposed the suspended part of the sentence on the condition that Paget address the “two serious issues of violence and addiction”.
Victim impact statement
In a statement written by Ms Ward and read out at Paget’s sentencing hearing last week, the victim said: “All I ever wanted was my little girl, Ruby Rose. I’m only 32 and I don’t know how I’m going to face life with the effect this has had on me.”
Ruby Rose, Ms Ward said, was a “beautiful little girl and I know she will always be by my side”. She said she wanted Paget to “pay for everything that he has done,” and added: “I want him done for what he did to my little girl.”
Paget’s 68 previous convictions include robbery, criminal damage, violent behaviour at a garda station, trespass, theft, misuse of drugs and entering a building with intent to commit an offence.
Ms Lawlor, for Paget, told the court that her client was a chronic drug user who, as a child, had witnessed routine assaults by his father on his mother. She said that while it will do nothing to reduce the impact on the victim, Paget had asked her to express his remorse for what he did. Ms Lawlor said that when Paget saw the CCTV footage of what he had done he gave a “genuine and spontaneous expression of remorse”.
Counsel said Paget left the court during the showing of the CCTV footage because he “cannot bear to recollect what he did. He doesn’t shy away from it, he accepts it and he entered a plea but what he did is a source of extraordinary regret to him.”
He had written an apology in which he said that he takes full responsibility and apologised to Ms Ward. “I know her hurt and pain is all my fault,” he said, and that nothing will change what he has done and he will accept whatever sentence the court hands down.
In her statement Ms Ward said that the emotional pain will live with her for the rest of her life. “I was looking forward to bringing my baby girl into this world but she never got a chance,” she said.
She said she doesn’t think she will ever trust a man again and doesn’t know how she is going to face life. “All the hope I have has been torn away. I feel like harming myself. I’m lucky that I have a good family behind me.”
She said that Paget knew what he was doing was wrong and should pay for what he did.