Suspended sentence for knife attack

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

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A man has escaped being sent to prison for a knife attack on his wife and an assault on his teenage son.

Thomas Fitzgerald O’Reilly received a 14 month sentence suspended for three years.

The 45-year-old, with an address in Portrush, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm and assault on November 11, last year

Derry Crown Court heard the incident occurred in a mobile home in an isolated area outside Dungiven.

The couple were married for 23 years, however it was described as a disturbed marriage and the injured party had told her husband she wanted to end their relationship.

O’Reilly initially took the news well but after his wife and son went to be he began ‘brooding and drinking’.

The court heard he took a knife from the kitchen and approached his wife with it. She was able to fight him off but suffered lacerations to her hand and bruising to her face.

Their son intervened and he was pushed away by his father. He then took a knife from the kitchen and approached his wife who woke up and was able to fight him off.

Suspending the sentence, Judge Philip Babington said ‘O’Reilly may have been faced with the perfect storm of problems but no man should ever raise his hand never mind a knife to a woman’.

He described the offences as ‘disgraceful and unforgiveable’ and said the injured party is a ‘remarkable woman in many ways’.

The judge also imposed a restraining order which prohibits O’Reilly from having any contact with the injured party for a period of five years.