Trainee lawyer who beat his girlfriend mercilessly gets four years in prison
A former apprentice solicitor who admitted subjecting his ex-girlfriend to a series of violent assaults over a six month period in 2017 was yesterday jailed for four years at Londonderry Crown Court.
Kevin McDaid (32), whose address was given as Hillview in Buncrana, Co Donegal, pleaded guilty to 15 offences, all but one of which he committed against his former girlfriend.
The offences included assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, falsely imprisoning and threatening to kill his victim and causing criminal damage to her property.
One of the assaults was committed against a neighbour of the couple when they lived in Princes Terrace in Derry.
The neighbour came to the victim's assistance when he saw McDaid dragging her along the street by her hair.
When the neighbour told McDaid to have some respect for the female victim, McDaid ran at the neighbour and punched him twice on the head and face, inflicting injuries which required complicated follow-up surgery.
A prosecution barrister said the violent assaults on the female victim took place in a toxic and alcohol-fuelled relationship between May and November 2017.
On one occasion McDaid spat in his girlfriend's face. During further assaults he grabbed her by the throat and inflicted injuries which caused swelling to her head and bruising to her body.
McDaid used several weapons during the assaults on his girlfriend. They included a wire coat hanger, a wooden bedside locker and a vacuum cleaner pipe.
Defence barrister Michael McAleer said McDaid, who as a result of his offending had lost a promising legal career, now accepted he was totally at fault.
"Since he first lifted his hand he lost every sense of respect. This behaviour was appalling against the background of a progressively worsening situation. His apology to the victim is not for the optics, it is genuinely meant", Mr McAleer said.
Judge Philip Babington said he had viewed photographs which showed some of the injuries suffered by the victim.
"They show in very graphic terms the way in which the defendant treated her," he said.
Judge Babington said he had read and considered a victim impact report. "There is no doubt that the defendant's treatment of her has affected her adversely, but to what extent it is difficult to know," Judge Babington said.
"She has been advised that she should seek some expert therapy if that is available and one can only hope that as time goes by she will be able to put the way in which the defendant treated her behind her.
"Unfortunately at the present time she feels that the defendant is still a threat to her, but again with time these fears may pass."
He said that McDaid, who had previous criminal convictions for indecent behaviour, disorderly behaviour and for assaulting police, had subjected his victim to both violence and humiliation.
"This was very serious violence in a setting where the victim should have expected to be respected and cherished," he said.
"It went on over a period of time, seemingly without very much mercy from the defendant being shown to his victim.
"All relationships can have moments of difficulty, but there is never an excuse for a man to lift his hand to a woman, certainly not here where it was done many times and with a variety of weapons over a prolonged period of time.
"The photographs of the injuries and bruising caused are quite disturbing. Thankfully, the injuries perpetrated were not more severe than they were. Domestic violence of this nature is not acceptable in modern society."
As well as jailing McDaid for four years, Judge Babington imposed a restraining order on him for five years.
Under the terms of the order McDaid is banned from going within 100m of any property in which his victim lived if he was aware of her home address.
Outside court Detective Sergeant Colin Neill urged other victims of abuse to come forward.
He said: "Domestic abuse is a terrifying crime which has a long-lasting impact on survivors.
"It takes a lot of strength and fortitude to come forward and make a complaint, and to see that complaint through the criminal justice system.
"Perpetrators should be aware that there are penalties and consequences for abusive actions within relationships, including being locked up behind bars."