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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 14 July, 2020

Man who tore out his girlfriend's hair in front of their son given suspended sentence

Italian national Davide Sanfillipo was told by Judge Martin Nolan that he would have a difficult time in prison due to his lack of English.

SONY DSC Source: William Murphy

AN ITALIAN MAN who viciously beat his ex-girlfriend and tore out her hair in front of their child has been given a suspended sentence after a judge said he would have a difficult time in prison due to his lack of English.

Davide Sanfillipo (30) attacked the woman on the day of their child’s christening because he saw a message on her phone from another man. He later told gardaí she had “played with his patience,” Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

Judge Martin Nolan called it a “cowardly attack” but noted Sanfillipo would have a difficult time in prison due to his lack of English. He said he had decided “with some hesitation” not to send him to jail before imposing a two year suspended sentence and ordering him to pay over €3,000 to the woman.

Sanfillipo (30) with an address in Drumcondra, Dublin but originally from Palermo, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to the woman at Highfield Road, Rathgar on 1 October, 2015. He has a number of minor previous convictions from Italy.

Garda Leslie McCormack said the couple had met while she was on holidays in Italy. He moved back to Ireland where they had a child in 2014.

They broke up a short time later and remained separated despite Sanfillipo’s efforts to rekindle the relationship. On the day of the assault they had gone shopping together ahead of the christening.

He was in her house when he saw a message from a man on her phone. He took her phone and told her she would be getting no more messages from the man. They then got into the car with the victim in the driving seat and Sanfillipo in the back seat with the child.

After they drove a short distance he began punching her repeatedly to the back of the head. He was also dragging her head back and forth and tearing out clumps of her hair.

He said he would kill her and she believed him. The woman later said she was scared for her life but more concerned about the safety of their infant child.

She managed to get out of the car and flag down a passing motorist who took her and the child to Rathmines Garda Station. When gardaí saw her she had a swollen and bloody face and was holding clumps of her own hair in her hands.

Sanfillipo was arrested shortly afterwards. Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, said he admitted in interview “he had made a mistake” but said that she had played with his patience.

Defence counsel Luigi Rea BL said Sanfillipo “puts (the attack) down to immaturity on his part”. Counsel said his client accepted his behaviour was unforgivable and that it was a “cowardly and violent assault”.

Mr Rea said Sanfillipo had served in the Italian military and now worked as a car valet in Ireland.

Read: Man (29) charged in relation to murder of Gareth Hutch

Read: Niece of Gerry Hutch will not face extra jail time despite “astronomical” number of convictions

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About the author:

Declan Brennan and Conor Gallagher

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