Accused threatened to make personal photos public

By Declan Brennan

A man who threatened to make his ex-partner’s personal photographs public after she reported his beating of her to gardai has been jailed for two years.

Dublin man Christopher Lenihan (28) held Grace Brady down and punched her repeatedly in the head during an attack in a room at the Plaza Hotel, Tallaght on January 13, 2017.

Dublin Criminal Courts of Justice 2 October 2016

When the victim tried to get away from him, he pulled her back by grabbing her hair and pulling clumps of it from her head, Garda Geraldine Ross told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

At one point during the attack, the victim couldn’t breathe because Lenihan had his hands over her mouth to try to stop her screaming.

Ms Brady later told gardai that Lenihan had flipped and was “like a mad man”.

She said he had a terrifying look in his eyes and bit her arm during the attack.

The ordeal ended the next morning when Lenihan said he was sorry and Ms Brady convinced him to leave the room. Ms Brady then called hotel staff and gardai came and arrested Lenihan.

Over the next two weeks Lenihan sent around 200 messages to the victim’s phone, ranging from apologetic pleading messages to abusive texts, Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, told the court.

He said that in one message, Lenihan threatened that “photos of a personal nature would be disseminated if matters didn’t go his way”.

Garda Ross said as well as the texts, there were numerous unanswered calls and emails. Ms Brady asked Lenihan to stop contacting her but he continued to harass her even after a warning from gardai.

Gardai arrested him at his home at Windmill Court, Kelly’s Bay, Skerries on January 31 and charged him with harassment.

He subsequently pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and assault causing harm to Ms Brady at the Plaza Hotel on January 13, 2017.

He also admitted harassing her on dates between January 13 and January 31, 2017.

He has one previous conviction from February 2016 for breach of a barring order.

The court heard that Lenihan had previously assaulted Ms Brady in January 2017, bruising her arm.

On Monday Judge Melanie Greally referred to a probation report in court which suggested that Lenihan “does not display any level of remorse for his actions” and had “limited insight” into the impact of his offences.

She said the letters of remorse that were handed to her at the sentence hearing “ring hollow”.

Ann Sheridan BL, defending, said Lenihan had alcohol-abuse issues and could not recall the events on the night, but was deeply apologetic for his actions.

Judge Greally imposed a three-year sentence with the final 12 months suspended on condition Lenihan undergoes 18 months probation supervision.

She said he must complete offence and victim-focused work, complete a domestic violence perpetrator programme if deemed suitable and to inform his probation officer of any change in address post release.

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