‘I am frightened of so many things now,’ says victim of male attacker
One of the victims of a man jailed for 18½ years yesterday for random attacks on women in Dublin has said she fears she will never recover from the event.
Ruth Maxwell, who had just started a new job in Dublin when the attack took place in May 2016, told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court: “I am frightened of so many things now... I can see who I used to be but I’m not sure how to get back to be that person.”
Reading her victim impact statement to the court, she said she suffered a life-changing injury to her hand when fighting off the knife attack.
Ms Maxwell was walking to the Luas to go to work when the man – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – put a hunting knife to her throat. She told the court she thought he was going to slit her throat and she grabbed the blade to stop that happening, causing the knife to cut tendons in three of her fingers.
Victim impact statements were submitted by the two other victims, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.
The victim of the first attack, in September 2011, said the first few days afterwards were a blur due to shock and trauma. She said she found it hard to sleep for months afterwards and friends had to stay with her. The attack took place very close to her home and she could not look out her windows during the day time.
She suffered from black eyes and a broken nose and did not leave her house for some time afterwards because of her injuries. When she returned to work she was told to take more time off because her appearance would make clients uncomfortable.
She said she would not consider walking home at night now and was constantly looking over her shoulder.
She thanked Garda Joseph Maguire, now retired, for his assistance and for his advice on how to build her confidence back up.
The victim in the attack in 2015 suffered extensive bruising and scrapes to her face and body. She told the court she had to take HIV medication as a precaution. She suffers extreme anxiety which has affected every aspect of her life. She said she had gone from being laid back and carefree to being hypervigilant and nervous. She had nightmares and disturbed sleep. She said she didn’t walk alone in the dark anymore and felt endangered.
“I know how hard I fought when he attacked me. I thought I was going to die and I remember feeling it might be for the best,” she stated.
She said she had to resume counselling during the trial because it made her relive the trauma of the attack.
“It has set me back in every aspect of my life. I detached from everyone around me, I isolated myself and felt completely alone. I am uncomfortable in social settings and get very anxious. I feel very angry at being deprived of being how I once was,” she said.
Ms Maxwell told the court she felt like her spirit was broken and she believed the physical and emotional pain would manifest for the rest of her life.
“My spirit is broken and I’m afraid of people and crowds. The physical and emotional hurt and pain has continued for two years and will probably continue to manifest itself in some form daily for the rest of my life,” she said.