A Dublin man with a history of violence against women, and who changed his identity when moving to west Clare before “terrorising” his fourth female victim, has been jailed for seven years and 10 months.
At Ennis Circuit Court on Monday, Judge Francis Comerford imposed an eight year and seven month prison term on Scott Donegan (38), suspending the final nine months of the sentence.
As part of sentencing for two separate offences on different dates, Judge Comerford imposed a six-year, 11 month prison term on Donegan for the false imprisonment of an ex-partner during a four hour ordeal at his home at Knockmore, Kilmilhil, Co Clare, on November 9th last.
Judge Comerford said there was no question of him suspending any portion of the prison term for the false imprisonment as Donegan’s three previous convictions for violent assaults against women contained an element of a suspended sentence and he continued to offend.
The judge said that Donegan had a 10 year prison term with the final two years suspended for the assault causing serious harm to his then partner in 2012.
Judge Comerford said the “severe beating” inflicted on the woman in February of that year left her brain damaged and the offence was compounded when she was left lying injured for 15 hours after the assault.
A native of Tallaght, Donegan was released from prison in February 2018 for this offence and moved to west Clare shortly after.
At 18, he committed his first assault against a partner at the time and received a suspended 12 month sentence.
At 22, he received a three-year prison term with the final year suspended for two assaults carried out on another then partner in 2008.
Judge Comerford said these three assaults were carried under the name of Paul McMenamy before he changed his name by deed poll to Scott Donegan.
The judge said, in relation to his latest offence carried out while on bail, Donegan had “terrorised” the Co Clare woman.
In her victim impact statement, she told the court he “is a danger to society and he has scarred and damaged me for life”.
The woman said that Donegan imposed “a reign of terror” on her on November 9th, despite begging him to stop.
She said: “I believed that I would be killed by him and never see my children or family again.”
Det Garda Donal Corkery said the woman was unaware of Donegan’s past and commenced a relationship with him.
Det Corkery said the woman ended things after seeing another side to him, however, “and after learning some bits about his past and his criminal history”.
Donegan couldn’t accept the relationship was over, the garda said, and continued to bombard the woman with messages on various social media platforms. He blackmailed her by saying if she didn’t meet him he would tell the woman’s former partner that she had an affair with someone else towards the end of their relationship.
Det Corkery said the woman felt she had no choice but to meet him.
He stated that on the night in question, Donegan took her mobile phone off her and forced her to sit in a chair “where she was frozen out of fear due to the aggressive behaviour”.
Det Corkery said he ran at the woman with a knife and grabbed her by the throat and squeezed her windpipe.
He said that Donegan told her that he had a Glock handgun and a shotgun and put on latex gloves while saying this.
The garda said: “In total, the woman was not allowed to leave the house from 7pm to 11pm. She was in constant fear that her life was in jeopardy.”
The detective said Donegan returned the phone to the woman and she contacted a friend who came to pick her up.
The woman said she wakes up screaming from nightmares “where I can again can feel his hand on my neck, the spit from his mouth as he screamed in my face and him laughing at me, taking pleasure as I begged him to stop, while holding a knife to me, saying he was going to butcher me”.
Judge Comerford imposed an additional 20 months on Donegan for threatening to kill a William Martin on April 19th, 2021, at Luis Na Si, Mullagh Road, Miltown Malbay, Co Clare, suspending the final nine months.
He ordered the prison term run consecutive to the term for false imprisonment, making it seven years and ten months in total, back-dating the terms to last November.