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
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
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.