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"Jekyll and Hyde" attacked partner with hammer 27.04.07

A Carndonagh man who attacked his former partner with a hammer was "a coward" who put on a gentlemanly front, the local court has heard.
Judge Desmond Zaidan told 50-year old Patrick McLaughlin, Glentogher, that he was also a "Jekyll and Hyde" character who abused the trust of a woman who loved him.
In a lengthy and emotional case at the local court on Wednesday, 47-year old Catherine Burke, 8 Sliabh Sneachta, Buncrana, outlined the events leading up to her attack on July 31st, 2006, by McLaughlin, with whom she had been in a violent on/off seven-year relationship.
The two had been drinking in the Riverside Bar, Quigley's Point, on the night in question. When they arrived back at the defendant's bungalow her then partner started to 'slag off' a friend of hers and she began to defend her. She said he would "get cocky with drink". When Ms. Burke went to get her clothes from the bedroom to go home to Buncrana, the defendant got angry. McLaughlin flung her on the bed and pulled a hammer out from under the wardrobe. He began hitting the bed with the hammer on both sides of her head and then struck her on the right thigh, resulting in a large bruise within which a blood clot formed, the court heard. He also hit her with his fists around the head and chest and ordered her into the bed and to stay there, "if (she) knew what was good for her".
Scots-born Ms. Burke, who was represented by Carn solicitor Roisin Doherty, testified that her partner had previously, during the course of the relationship, threatened her about leaving him, saying; "If you go with another man I'll kill you. I'll burn you in your bed", the court heard. She said she had not been back with him since.
The following morning she booked a taxi to take her to collect her Fiat Punto car from the Riverside car park but her ex-partner jumped in to the front seat as she was leaving. McLaughlin, represented by Micheal Canavan, took the witness stand and testified that when they got to the car park, she asked him to check the vehicle's faulty bonnet and when he went to do so, she attempted to run him over. Denying the assault charge, he said the reason they had rowed was because he would not take out a 16,000 loan for her to have cosmetic surgery. Ms. Burke rejected this saying she earned 500 a week as a care worker in a nursing unit and did not need his money.
Substantial damages
Judge Zaidan dismissed this counter charge and acquitted Ms. Burke of dangerous driving on the date in question. He was told that the defendant had four previous convictions, three for breaching a safety order and one for assaulting Ms. Burke.
Summing up, Judge Zaidan said he was in no doubt the defendant had assaulted and caused harm to his former partner. He remanded the defendant on his own bond of 5,000 for sentencing on July 17th, 2007, pending a victim impact statement and probation report. At the request of Inspector Pat O'Donnell, he ordered the defendant to have no contact whatsoever with Ms. Burke in the meantime. He said McLaughlin would have to pay her a "substantial" sum in damages "as a gesture of (his) remorse" aside from any sentence he would impose in July.

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