Judge describes domestic abuse victim as the closest thing Derry has to a saint

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A judge has said the victim of repeated domestic abuse is the ‘closest thing this city has to a saint’.

District Judge Barney McElholm made the comment as 51-year-old Patrick McGuigan appeared at the local magistrates court.

Judge McElholm said he has ‘tremendous admiration’ for McGuigan’s wife who keeps getting let down by her spouse.

McGuigan, of Mimosa Court, pleaded guilty to attempting to damage a door at his wife’s house on October 6.

The court heard McGuigan has 156 previous convictions, including a number of convictions relating to the same injured party.

These include common assault, criminal damage, burglary with intent to cause damage and threats to kill.

An investigating officer also told the court there is a ‘significant domestic history’ and the 51-year-old has breached court orders almost 30 times in the past.

On Wednesday, McGuigan attempted to gain entry to his wife’s house and kicked the door. The incident lasted over half an hours and police were called.

Police opposed bail for fear of further offences and concerns that he would not adhere to conditions.

Defence counsel Nicola Coulter said her client and the injured party have a ‘complex marriage’ and he is quite welcome in the family home when he is sober.

However, she said McGuigan is not allowed in when he has consumed alcohol.

The barrister told the court the 51-year-old has an ‘extremely serious long term addiction’ to alcohol but had been attending counselling sessions.

She said he had abstained from consuming alcohol but when he started again he ‘couldn’t stop’.

Ms Coulter applied for the case to be adjourned for a probation pre-sentence report and for McGuigan to be released on bail to live with his daughter.

Referring to the injured party, District Judge McElholm said she is ‘the closest thing to a saint this city has. She welcomes him back when sober and does everything for him.

‘I have tremendous admiration for her but he always lets her down’.

Judge McElholm refused to adjourn the case as a pre-sentence report ‘will not tell me anything I don’t already know’.

He suspended a six month sentence for two years and said ‘I am not fooling myself he will be back’.