Husband jailed for eight years for assault on his wife

Victim suffered stroke after assault in which she was thrown down stairs

A man who assaulted his wife and threw her down a flight of stairs, resulting in her suffering a stroke which left her permanently incapacitated, has been given an eight-year prison sentence.

Anthony Kelleher (42), Curraheen, Raleigh North, Macroom, Co Cork, denied assault causing harm to Siobhán Kelleher (37) at their home on June 12th, 2014. A Cork Circuit Criminal Court jury found him unanimously guilty in February.

Det Sgt Joanne O'Brien said gardaí were alerted by Cork University Hospital after Ms Kelleher arrived there by ambulance with very serious injuries. Gardaí took three statements from Ms Kelleher with the first two saying her husband assaulted her, before she retracted the claims in the third.


In her first statement, made on June 16th, 2014, from her hospital bed, Ms Kelleher told Det Sgt O’Brien she had a glass of wine “to calm her nerves” before her husband came home at about 5.15pm and “started ranting and raving and said I was staggering around”.


She went to bed for an hour but “Anthony dragged me out of bed by the hair and threw me across the corridor and down the stairs. The next thing I knew I woke up in hospital.” She outlined the assault in more detail in a second statement but sought to withdraw the complaint 10 months later.


Ms Kelleher was called as a witness for the prosecution during the trial but told Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin she wanted to withdraw her complaint. The State made an application to have her statements read into evidence and following legal argument in the absence of the jury, the judge consented.

Kelleher did not give evidence but the court heard he told gardaí the day after the incident that his wife had a drink problem and suffered the injuries when falling down the stairs. He was later arrested but denied dragging his wife by her hair, hitting or kicking her, or throwing her down the stairs.

Ms Kelleher suffered injuries including a fractured wrist and ribs, bruising to the abdomen and lower limbs, and liver lacerations, which the court heard did not tally with a fall on stairs.

Judge Ó Donnabháin said yesterday it was a very serious case where Ms Kelleher had suffered catastrophic injuries.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times