A WOMAN in court claimed she could have been killed during a sustained assault in Skibbereen, had she not shielded her head with her arms.
‘Had I not had my arms up, with the force the defendant was repeatedly bashing my head, I believe he could have killed me,’ Denise Savage wrote in her victim impact statement.
The accused Callum Fahy of Callum Fahy 22 Chapel Lane, Skibbereen, pleaded guilty at Skibbereen District Court to assaulting Denise Savage, causing harm, at her home at Gortnaclohy Heights on May 12th 2021.
The accused also pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of common assault on the woman’s teenage daughter following a post 21st birthday party gathering at her home.
Sgt Paul Kelly said that gardaí received a 999 call at 1.20am on the morning of May 12th and when they arrived they noted that Denise Savage had a bump on her forehead, her arms were red, and she had a cut on her left hand.
She made a complaint to gardaí that Callum Fahy ‘flew into a rage,’ punched her, and started hitting her ‘like a boxer’ into the face.
Denise Savage told gardaí she put her hands up and amidst the blows felt a bang on her forehead.
After the assault, she said she found a dented tin on the ground and she believes this is what the accused used to hit her on the head.
She said she also found a tuft of hair on the ground and attended an accident and emergency department on May 13th.
Callum Fahy (23) claimed he had no recollection of the incident, having ‘blacked out.’
Judge McNulty read the victim impact statement which began with Denise Savage saying, ‘I would like nothing more than to forget this assault ever happened.
‘Unfortunately, I am still suffering the effects of it til this day,’ she said.
‘Both of my arms and hands continue to have weakness and pain daily. Every single thing I do with my arms hurts them. I’ve had to alter how I cook, how I shower, how I write, how I do everything.
‘I cannot lift anything with any weight to it and have to rely heavily on others. I do physio exercises which are tortuously painful and following these my arms hurt even more. Sometimes the pain is so bad at night it wakes me up.’
The victim said she has had to alter what clothes she wears because she can no longer put on or take off items with buttons or clasps.
‘I cannot tie my own shoes anymore,’ she added, ‘and often I have to wear compression sleeves for some relief. Painkillers do not even help at all.’
She said her arms were injured while trying to defend herself and protect her head. And that the defendant, by his actions, ‘could have killed me in my own home in front of my children’.
‘I was,’ she said, ‘cornered in my hallway, defenceless, with him repeatedly punching my face and head and then using a tin of wood stain as a weapon to the point that the tin dented.
‘This was an unprovoked and sustained attack and when my son tried to help me, he was physically held back,’ she added.
The victim said she had multiple head contusions from this assault.
‘I still have a lump over my left eyebrow that I have to see every day as well as frequent headaches in that spot that I never had before.
‘I’ve had PTSD symptoms following this assault and had to apply for trauma therapy. I am still waiting for this.
‘As if all of this wasn’t bad enough,’ she said, ‘my husband Sean suffered an even worse fate. He felt very guilty for not being there and it affected his blood pressure.
‘When we had to discuss it, he would get agitated and when we had to go to the garda station about it on the 10th of October he suffered a massive stroke.
‘He passed away nine days later at only 57. The stress of the guilt, the assault and his children being endangered was a contributing factor,’ she claimed.
‘I did nothing to provoke this attack,’ said Denise Savage.
‘I simply wanted them to leave my house so my children could go to bed and go to school the next day.’
‘I have been nothing but nice to the defendant and previously treated him like family.
‘I let them into my home and this is the thanks I got. I will never forgive the defendant. I hope he is locked up before he actually does kill his next victim.’
Denise Savage concluded her impact statement saying: ‘The sentence should, reflect the brutality of the crime.’
Flor Murphy said his client wished to apologise for the assaults and accepts that what he did was ‘unacceptable and totally wrong.’
‘This was a violent outburst that shouldn’t have happened,’ he said.
Mr Murphy said his client is employed by his former foster parents and is awaiting an appointment to deal with his addiction issues.
Judge McNulty claimed Callum Fahy was ‘the victim’ of bad parenting, as well as experiencing his father’s tragic bereavement, but he said life also offered him the compensation of ‘good foster parents.’
The judge noted that the accused has nine previous convictions and had declined in 2019 to engage with the probation service despite being entreated to do so by the court.
Previously, he said, reports had indicated that the accused could spend between €300 and €400 on cocaine on a night out, yet he hadn’t offered to pay the victim anything by way of compensation.
The judge ordered that the accused be taken into custody until the case is called at the next sitting of Skibbereen District Court.
The judge instructed that the accused be given a copy of the victim impact statement and suggested that he should reflect on that.