Woman alleges partner beat her with hammer and slashed her face

Dublin District Family Court grants mother temporary barring order

A woman who alleged her partner beat her with a hammer, slashed her face and tried to smother her with a pillow has been granted a temporary barring order at the Dublin District Family Court.

The young woman sat in the witness box, her arm in a cast and a scar on her face.

She applied for the order on an ex-parte basis, with only one side present, and swore to the truth of a statement prepared in advance for court.

She said two weeks ago, her partner of nine years, with whom she had moved to Ireland, had attacked her when she came home from work.


She said after she put their child to bed, he started calling her names and then jumped on her. He hit her, stuffed her underwear in her mouth, held her nose and put a pillow over her face and tried to smother her.

“He said he’d kill me,” the woman said.

She told the president of the District Court, Judge Rosemary Horgan, that her partner then hit her "with a claw hammer everywhere", and slashed her face, which was afterwards stitched in hospital.

She turned her face toward the judge to show the scar.

“They did a good job,” the judge remarked.

The woman said she also sustained a broken nose and hand, and her partner tried to force a bottle down her throat. A neighbour, whom her partner had also attacked, phoned gardaí.

“She saved my life,” the woman said.

She said that before the violence, her partner had said he would do everything he could to take their child from her. He went to court himself earlier in the year and sought a protection order against her.

The judge asked her why she had not appealed that order. “He showed me the documents and then took them away; he also took the child’s passport and her documents,” she said.

She said gardaí told her to seek a barring order because her partner was “a very dangerous man”. The court heard criminal action was pending.

Making the interim barring order, which requires the woman’s partner to stay away from the family home and not to use or threaten to use violence against her, the judge said the case would be heard in full in eight days. At that point, evidence would be taken from her partner, as well as from the applicant.

The woman, who was accompanied in court by a social worker, started to cry. The judge advised her to seek legal representation from the Legal Aid Board office in the courthouse.

In a separate case, a woman sought a protection order, ex-parte, against her husband of 20 years.

Giving evidence with the help of an interpreter, she said her husband had punched their teenage son in the face.

On Monday, while she was ironing, she said, he punched her in the back of the neck “for no reason”. And two weeks ago, he punched her in her side and threw hot tea in her face.

She said earlier this year, her son’s school principal had been concerned because the boy had come to school visibly bruised. His father had beaten him because he didn’t want to wear a particular pair of shoes. The principal had spoken to the father about it.

The woman told the judge she was afraid of her husband.

The judge granted the protection order for five months, pending a full hearing of the case, and said she would ask gardaí to serve it. It requires the woman’s husband not to use or threaten to use violence against her, but does not require him to move out of the family home.

“There are services in the building for people who say they are victims of domestic violence,” the judge told the woman.

She also advised her to apply for legal aid.

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland is a crime writer and former Irish Times journalist