10 Aug 2022

Laois man's 'horrific' assault with a hurl on woman in Castletown

Portlaoise Courthouse

Portlaoise Courthouse.

A 48-year-old man who inflicted a horrific assault on his partner by hitting her repeatedly with a hurl has been given the maximum prison sentence of 12 months, after Judge Catherine Staines ruled that there were no mitigating factors in his favour.

At yesterday's (Thursday, June 14) Portlaoise District Court, Raymond Coss (48), with listed addresses in Castletown and Mountrath, was charged with assault causing harm, in Castletown, on June 26, 2016.

Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that the accused and the injured party, who had been partners for three years, went to the Castletown Inn where they had a disagreement.

Back at their home later, the accused assaulted her with a hurl, hitting her over the head and back.

The accused was also charged with breaching a protection order, at Castlefield Heights, on November 21, 2017.

Sgt Kirby gave evidence that after a verbal argument, the accused threw a rabbit hutch at the injured party, causing her to lose her balance and fall off a chair.

The accused had previous convictions.

The injured party, Ms Gemma Lawlor, took to the witness box to read out her victim impact statement.

She said that on June 26, 2016, the accused beat her repeatedly with a hurl full force. She pleaded with him to stop, but he kept hitting her.

“I was curled up like a child,” she said, revealing that she still has a dent in her skull from the attack.

“I remained in the relationship as I believed he loved me, but he also made me feel that no one else would want me,” she said.

Ms Lawlor said that the accused sent her vile messages, but a week later he said he loved her. She said she had suffered post traumatic stress disorder and experienced flashbacks to the night.

“I thought he was going to kill me,” she said, adding that her children were terrified he would come back to the house.

Ms Lawlor went on to say that she had no appetite since the attack and lost a stone in three weeks, living on coffee and cigarettes.

She said he had controlled her life for four years and her confidence was stolen.

Defence for the accused, Ms Louise Troy asked that the court not finalise the matter that day, but direct the accused to engage with rehabilitative services.

However, Judge Catherine Staines said she could see no mitigating factors in this case. She noted the accused initially pleaded not guilty and then did not turn up in court.

Describing it as a horrific assault, the judge ruled she would impose the maximum of 12 months, with recognisance fixed in the event of an appeal.

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