A man who strangled his girlfriend to the point where she played dead to escape him, has been jailed for three years.
Stephen Bradley (28) of Mount Prospect Avenue, Clontarf, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm, threatening to kill and false imprisonment of the woman at his home on February 17th, 2020. He has no previous convictions.
Judge Karen O’Connor revoked Bradley’s bail and remanded him in custody having first heard evidence last March. She has since ordered a number of reports in relation to the case including a psychiatric report from the Probation Service.
Pretended to be dead
The court heard at the earlier hearing that Bradley and the woman had a row that continued when they went back to his home.
The woman later told gardaí that she attempted to leave, but Bradley dragged her by the hair and pulled her down onto the ground telling her “You are not f**king going anywhere. I will f**king kill you”.
Bradley held his hands tightly around the woman’s neck to the point where she struggled to breathe. She decided to hold her breath to give the impression that she was dead and Bradley let her go after giving her throat a final squeeze.
At this point the woman managed to kick out at Bradley and get up. She tried to leave and Bradley told her “If I wanted you dead, you would already be dead”.
The woman told gardaí that Bradley had been trying to take tablets and produced a knife at that point which he began rubbing up and down his arm.
Bradley then punched her repeatedly causing her to fall to the ground. He put his hands around her neck again, but she managed to get up and into the bathroom. She was hyperventilating. Bradley kept her in the bathroom, but she ultimately managed to get out.
As she was leaving the house, she saw Bradley on a bed with a knife beside him.
Begging for her life
Judge O’Connor noted that the episode lasted two and half hours. She said the woman managed to call her mother for help as she escaped Bradley’s home and was picked up by her mother and sister shortly afterwards on a nearby street.
The judge said the woman’s victim impact statement was very compelling, impressive and dignified. “She was extremely courageous and had used her obvious intellect and skill on the night.”
She noted the woman continues to suffer flashbacks and “recalls begging for her life”.
Judge O’Connor noted that the woman later received three stitches to a cut on her upper lip and had various bruises on her body.
The judge accepted that Bradley had pleaded guilty, expressed genuine remorse and had not come to the garda attention before or since the offence.
She noted from various reports before the court that Bradley had taken “constructive steps to rehabilitate” and was now considered to be at a low risk of re-offending. He was diagnosed with ADHD at seven years old, but does not meet the criteria for personality disorder.
Judge O’Connor imposed a sentence of four years and four months and suspended the final 16 months of the term. She ordered that Bradley engage with the Probation Service for 18 months upon his ultimate release from prison and that he have no direct or indirect contact with the woman.
Dean Kelly SC, defending, had submitted to the court that his client was engaging with drug rehabilitation and has abstained from alcohol. He said there was no element of coercive control and no lead up to this event.