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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 10 July, 2020

Man (54) jailed for 10 years after stabbing 47-year-old mother and her two children

The children raised the alarm and jumped to the assistance of their mother during the attack.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A MOTHER WHO had to undergo a nine-hour life saving surgery after a man stabbed her in her home shortly before Christmas last year only cheated death because her courageous children came to her aid, Cork Circuit Criminal Court has heard.

Gardai have commended the bravery of three children of the 47 year old woman.

The children raised the alarm and jumped to the assistance of their mother when Thomas O’Sullivan (54) of Silvercourt, Silversprings, Cork broke in to the family home in Cork city on 23 December, 2019.

O’Sullivan was jailed for twelve years with the last two suspended having signed pleas of guilty to charges of assault causing serious harm to the 47-year-old woman, and assault causing harm to her 20-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son.

Another teenage daughter of the woman, who was present for the attack, was not physically injured in the incident.

In a victim impact statement the woman said that on the evening of the assault she and her three children had gone for a takeaway. They sung festive tunes in the car on the way home and her 10-year-old was eagerly anticipating Christmas.

She was in the bedroom of her home at about 11pm when the accused burst in to the room wearing a balaclava.

“He began to stab me all over my body. He pushed me back on a bunk bed. I thought he was going to rape me. He kept stabbing me and the knife was tied to his wrist like a charm bracelet. I pushed him on to the ground and pulled his leather jacket over his face.

“When the children heard the screams my eldest daughter ran in to the room and saw him continue to stab me. She jumped on to him too. My son came in to the room and was screaming ‘Please Please stranger leave my Mommy alone.’ He stabbed both my son and daughter badly and I thought we were all killed. He kept repeating ‘I am going to kill you’.

When the accused Tommy O’Sullivan pulled off the balaclava I fully realised who was trying to kill us in the room.”

The woman said that she suffers from PSTD arising out of the incident. The whole family bear emotional scars.

“I have lost all confidence. I cannot breathe properly because of my punctured lung.

“I watch my children having nightmares and hear them scream so we are constantly reliving that night. I was shocked when I discovered that my children were sleeping with items under their pillows to protect themselves from further harm.

“It is so hard for anyone to imagine how you would have planned and intended to cause me and my family such harm, leaving me almost dead. I hope God will forgive you but I cannot.”

Det Garda Mark Durkan told the court that O’Sullivan held a personal grudge against the woman arising out of an incident a few years earlier.

He said six paramedics were required to tend to the injured family at the scene of the attack.

He stated that when O’Sullivan stabbed the middle aged woman he shouted ‘whore I am going to kill you.’

Det Garda Durkan said the 20-year-old woman received a laceration wound to the rear of her head and a defensive wound to her hand. The 10-year-old boy incurred a single stab wound under his armpit.

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The 47-year-old-woman sustained multiple stab wounds to the torso.

Garda Durkan described the incident as having been pre-planned and entirely without provocation.

He told the court that O’Sullivan had initially considered ending his own life. However, he then changed course and went to the house in a fit of rage.

He said that Thomas O’Sullivan would have succeeded in carrying out his plan save for the intervention of the woman’s three children. Their “act of bravery” did not come without a price, he told Judge Sean O’Donnabhain.

Meanwhile, defence counsel, Ray Boland, said that his client suffered from severe mental health difficulties and was very remorseful for his actions. He appealed for leniency given that a signed plea had been entered in the case. He apologised to the family on behalf of his client.

Judge O’Donnabhain said that O’Sullivan had entered the house with a knife which he secured to his wrist with a string to prevent it from being taken from him. He said it was a “determined and vicious assault”.

He said that the injured mother was in hospital from 23 December until 17 January 2020 after she sustained a punctured lung in the stabbed incident.

He acknowledged the “complex psychiatric background” and the guilty plea but said that stabbing injuries were “particularly traumatic.” He jailed O’Sullivan for 12 years suspending the last two years of the sentence.

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About the author:

Olivia Kelleher

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