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Dublin: 12°C Tuesday 22 September 2020

Attacker who repeatedly stabbed his girlfriend in the face with a Stanley blade is jailed

Constantin Zahira was jailed for nine years with two and a half years suspended.

Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

A MAN WHO stabbed his girlfriend repeatedly in the face after accusing her of cheating on him has been jailed for six and a half years.

Constantin Zahira (29) also attacked his sister and his girlfriend’s father with a Stanley knife. His girlfriend suffered eight wounds which needed stitches and will have lifelong scarring to her face and neck.

When arrested Zahira claimed he didn’t remember the attack but complained that his girlfriend was cheating on him and that his previous partners had also cheated on him.

Zahira of no fixed abode pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to causing serious harm to his girlfriend and assault causing harm to her father and his sister at their then home in Bramblefield Park, Clonee, Co Dublin on 5 September, 2015.

Prosecuting counsel Roisin Lacey BL said the Director of Public Prosecutions viewed this case as being at the most serious level in this type of offence.

Judge Martin Nolan agreed and said the offence of assault causing serious harm was comparable to rape in terms of seriousness and perhaps more serious than manslaughter.

Judge Nolan imposed a nine year sentence. After taking into account Zahira’s lack of previous convictions and his “belated” plea of guilty, he suspended the final two and a half years.

A number of character references were submitted on behalf of Zahira including one by his sister, who suffered several wounds in the attack, saying he was “not as bad as he looks”.

There was also a reference from the mayor of his home town in Romania.

Psychological report 

A psychological report handed in by Zahira’s defence counsel Ciaran O’Loughlin SC stated he had a history of being “distrustful, suspicious and jealous of his partners” and had been physically abusive to them in the past.

Garda Niall Bright said Zahira had spent that entire day drinking. When his girlfriend came home from work he accused her of cheating on him. Garda Bright said the accusation was groundless.

He grabbed her hair and pulled her into a seated position, causing her to get sick. She left the room and had a discussion with her father about buying Zahira a plane ticket back to Romania.

Zahira entered the room, where his sister and his seven year old niece were also present. He went to punch his partner but her father intervened. Zahira then pulled out a blade and cut both of them and his sister.

The father managed to subdue Zahira with a pillow which gave his partner a chance to flee the house.

However Zahira gave chase, knocked her to the ground outside and stabbed her repeatedly to the face. A passer-by tried to stop him but Zahira swung the blade at him and threatened to kill him.

A short time later the father arrived on the scene and struck Zahira with a hammer, ending the attack. Zahira fled though some gardens and was found by gardaí hiding nearby.

He was interviewed when he sobered up and claimed his girlfriend had slapped him first.

Zahira’s barrister said he was “drunk to the point of not knowing what he was doing that day”.

O’Loughlin said his client had been molested as a child and that this had had a big effect on him.

The barrister said Zahira had a difficult relationship with women and had had a large number of sexual partners over the years who had cheated on him.

Read: Man who raped nephew’s wife as she slept beside her husband and child is jailed >

Read: Man who launched “vicious” knife attack on former partner jailed for 14 years >

About the author:

Declan Brennan and Conor Gallagher

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