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Jail for mum who left victim for dead in his own cupboard

By Ashleigh McDonald

Published 15/10/2015

A mother-of-two who attacked a vulnerable man in his home and left him for dead in a cupboard has been handed a three-year sentence for the assault.

Judge Gordon Kerr spoke of the "considerable damage" wreaked by 28-year-old Rhona Mary Gracey on her vulnerable victim who was not just physically injured but also suffered "several psychological harm" as a result of what happened.

Gracey, whose address was given as Hydebank, admitted four charges, including causing grievous bodily harm to the victim, as well as assaulting and resisting police.

Her co-accused, 29-year-old David Adams from Shackleton Walk in Newtownards, admitted assisting offenders by helping Gracey change blood-stained clothing. He also admitted damaging an electronic tag belonging to G4S.

At a previous court hearing, Crown prosecutor Peter Magill revealed the assault occurred on November 27 last year when Gracey and Adams went to the victim's flat in the Belgravia area of Belfast.

Saying "drinking took place" at the flat, Mr Magill said the trio were in the flat "for a considerable period of time" and that at some stage Gracey launched an attack on the occupant using her fists.

After being subjected to a severe beating, the injured man was then left in a walk-in cupboard in the flat.

Following the attack, Gracey and Adams left the premises and went into the city centre where they met up with street drinkers.

The court heard that Gracey "made a number of comments to various people about how she had left somebody beaten up and didn't know whether he was dead". She then went into a shop to buy new clothes to replace the blood-stained garments she was wearing, accompanied by Adams.

Police were subsequently informed, and when they went to the victim's flat they noticed the front door was on the snib. They heard groaning, which led them to the cupboard where they discovered the badly beaten occupant. In a confused state and with drink taken, the injured man said he had been attacked by a woman he knew as Rhona. Mr Magill said the man was "vulnerable" and had some form of a disability before the attack, but said that since the incident his health has worsened and he now requires constant care.

The prosecutor added that when Gracey was arrested on suspicion of assaulting the man, she became "extremely violent" and both resisted and assaulted police.

Gracey, who has 49 previous convictions, was handed three years for the assault, half in prison, half on licence. Judge Kerr also handed Gracey a one-month sentence for resisting arrest and four months for assaulting police. These sentences will run concurrent, but consecutively to the three-year sentence for the assault.

Adams, who was on bail at the time of the offences and who destroyed his electronic tag so he could go drinking with Gracey, was handed a six-month sentence for damaging the tag.

He was also handed a concurrent four-month sentence for assisting offenders, namely helping Gracey to buy new clothes to replace her blood-stained garments and thereby attempting to prevent her detection.

Belfast Telegraph

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