‘I am fright­ened of so many things now,’ says vic­tim of male at­tacker

The Irish Times - - Home News - DE­CLAN BREN­NAN

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.

Ex­treme anx­i­ety

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.

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