Man who poured boiling water over pregnant girlfriend jailed for 30 months

Victim spent 10 days in hospital undergoing skin grafts for third degree burns to her leg

“He said he was going to boil a kettle of water with sugar and pour the mixture on me. He put the sugar in the kettle and boiled it and said if I screamed he would hit me on the head with an iron bar” said Tara Byrd . Photograph: Cork Courts Limited

“He said he was going to boil a kettle of water with sugar and pour the mixture on me. He put the sugar in the kettle and boiled it and said if I screamed he would hit me on the head with an iron bar” said Tara Byrd . Photograph: Cork Courts Limited

 

A man who poured a kettle of boiling water mixed with sugar over his pregnant girlfriend because he was jealous of her looking at another man has been jailed for a total of 30 months.

Michael Lynch (24) had denied a charge of assault causing harm to his four and a half month pregnant girlfriend, Tara Byrd (25) at their house on Old Youghal Road in Cork city on July 27th, 2015.

The jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court took over three hours to find Lynch guilty by a 11-1 majority of the assault charge. They found him not guilty of threatening to kill Ms Byrd on the same date.

Ms Byrd told the court how she had known Lynch since she was 19 when she was introduced to him by a friend. They began a relationship in March 2015 and she soon became pregnant.

She said she was four and half months pregnant with her son, William - now aged five months - when Lynch assaulted her with a kettle of boiling water after mixing sugar into it.

“He said he was going to boil a kettle of water with sugar and pour the mixture on me. He put the sugar in the kettle and boiled it and said if I screamed he would hit me on the head with an iron bar.

Shaking with agony

“I was wearing pyjama pants. He threw the kettle over my left leg (from top of foot to below knee). I was in agony. I did not scream. I was shaking with agony after he poured the sugar water on me.

“He put a white T-shirt over my leg and he started pouring constant cold water and ice over my leg. I told him I needed to go to hospital. He said ’there is nothing they can do that I’m not already doing’.

“I was there in that constant agony all night. He told me if he found me cheating he would kill me and bury me in the woods. I believed him because of what he was after doing to me.”

It was only the following morning when Lynch’s cousin, Tasha Morey came to the house and saw the burn injury that he agreed to allow her to be taken to hospital for treatment.

Lynch did noy give evidence at the trial but his barrister, Gareth Fleming BL put it to Ms Byrd that he had accidentally spilled a cup of tea he had made her due to a slope in the floor. Ms Byrd rejected this claim.

Ms Byrd told the court in her victim impact statement her life has changed hugely since the assault .

“I spent 10 days in hospital after this where surgeons performed a skin graft on my left leg - I can’t explain how much excruciating pain and shock that this caused me,” said Ms Byrd.

“After this, I wasn’t only in fear for my own life and safety but also the life and safety of my unborn baby and I worried about this right up until he was born,” she said before outlining its impact.

“My confidence and self esteem are at an all time low - the impact this will have on my future - for example as a young woman, I am now restricted in my everyday life.

“For instance I can never expose my leg to sunlight and I don’t think I will ever have the confidence to wear a dress or a skirt again. I am reminded of this horrific attack daily when I dress and shower.”

Maximum sentence

Judge David Riordan noted that the maximum sentence for assault causing harm was five years and he believed the offence was on the mid- to upper end of the scale for such assaults.

The assault itself was appalling and he had no doubt that the “pain truly must have been horrendous” while he was also conscious of the continuing psychological impact of the assault.

He said he believed that the in the normal circumstances, such an assault would attract a three and a half year sentence but he had to take account of Lynch’s individual circumstances in sentencing.

He noted Lynch came from a background of “significant disadvantage” and he believed that in those circumstances the appropriate sentence was two and a half years backdated to November 2015.

Abusive

Speaking outside the court after sentencing, Ms Byrd urged anyone caught up in a violent relationship to end it as soon as their partner becomes abusive.

“If they feel any man is controlling them or being paranoid, get away from them, it will only get worse,” said Ms Byrd flanked by her father, Willie.

“I’m relieved he was convicted because I thought he was going to get away with it but I thought the sentence was light given everything he did - the assault itself and then not letting me go to hospital.

“He kept me in the flat all night and wouldn’t allow me ring for help - it was only when his cousin came the next morning and saw what happened that she rang for an ambulance,” she said.

“He’s going to be out in two years because he’s already been in prison for the past six months since he was charged so he will be out by 2018 and already I’m afraid at the thought of him getting out.”

Ms Byrd said that she found going to court - not once but twice after the first jury could not agree a verdict- a terrifying experience and she could not even bear to look at her abuser in the dock.

Her father echoed her concerns about the future and revealed that, before Lynch was charged, he used to sleep downstairs on the sofa, watching out for his family as he feared some sort of attack.

“I was in fear for my own family that we might get a petrol bomb or something in the window and that’s the fear we are going to have to live with for a while yet, I think” said Mr Byrd.