'All I can remember is fear, and it haunts me daily' – woman stabbed, scalded and beaten by her ex-boyfriend tells court of attack

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'All I can remember is fear, and it haunts me daily' – woman stabbed, scalded and beaten by her ex-boyfriend tells court of attack
'All I can remember is fear, and it haunts me daily' – woman stabbed, scalded and beaten by her ex-boyfriend tells court of attack
Simone Lee photographed outside Limerick Courthouse Photograph Liam Burke Press 22
Simone Lee photographed outside Limerick Courthouse Photograph Liam Burke Press 22

A woman who was scalded, stabbed and beaten by her ex-boyfriend, said she does not trust men following the attack two years ago.

Simone Lee, (39), suffered severe burns to her face, neck, trunk and eyelids after a drink-fuelled attack by her boyfriend Colin Ryan (30).

Ms Lee was also stabbed in the back, and sustained a brain injury during the vicious assault, Limerick Circuit Court heard.

Gardai, responding to a 999 call from a member of the public, arrived at Ms Lee’s flat at Hassett’s Villas, Thomondgate, to find her her lying face down, semi-conscious, and naked from the waist up.

Two televisions and a window had also been smashed and broken.

“She had been stabbed in the back, had numerous burn marks, and had obvious head and facial injuries,” John O’Sullivan, senior prosecution counsel, told the court.

A medical report into Ms Lee’s injuries stated they had been consistent with her trying to defend herself.

Investigating gardai initially believed Colin Ryan had poured an acid substance on Ms Lee’s face and body.

A file photo of Colin Ryan, who faces sentencing for the attack on Simone Lee Photograph Liam Burke Press 22

A file photo of Colin Ryan, who faces sentencing for the attack on Simone Lee Photograph Liam Burke Press 22

A file photo of Colin Ryan, who faces sentencing for the attack on Simone Lee Photograph Liam Burke Press 22

However they told the court they now believe Ryan used hot water in the attack, which caused serous burns to ten per cent of the victim’s body.

Gardai found bloodstains throughout the flat and blood on Ryan’s hands.

Ryan, with an address at St Ita’s Street, St Mary’s Park, has pleaded guilty to one count of intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Ms Lee.

At Ryan’s pre-sentencing hearing, John O’Sullivan read out Ms Lee’s victim impact statement.

She wrote how Ryan had initially been “kind and gentle”.

“I thought he was my knight in shining armour. But, on the night, he just beat me and beat me and beat me some more,” she said.

Addressing Ryan in her victim statement, she added: “You didn’t see me as a human being. You beat me to within an inch of my life.”

The court heard Ms Lee has successfully addressed a serious drug addiction problem, for which she had been suffering at the time.

She said she had little or no memory of the attack.

“All I can remember is fear, and it haunts me daily,” she wrote.

Following the assault doctors placed Ms Lee in a medically-induced coma for a three-week period.

She thanked her family for their ongoing support, as well as medical staff at University Hospital Limerick, and at St James’s Hospital, where she has been receiving ongoing treatment for her burn injuries.

She has scarring on her face and body, and because of the brain injury she suffered she also suffers with short-term memory problems.

She has also had to learn to walk again, and continues to suffer from headaches, a tingling sound in her ears, and she has balance issues.

“My life is a daily battle” she said.

She wears a wig as parts of her hair have not grown back on her head where she sustained a serious head wound.

“The mirror is my enemy. It pains to see my reflection,” she said.

Ms Lee said that since the assault she has “trust issues” and is “nervous and jumpy” around men.

“I can’t live on my own,” she added.

Ryan denied telling gardai, who arrived at Ms Lee’s apartment on the night of the assault, that they could find her “playing dead upstairs”.

Neighbours had contacted gardai after hearing shouting and screaming coming from Ms Lee’s flat throughout the day.

One witness told gardai the noise coming from the flat had “sounded like a building being demolished”.

Ryan claimed in garda interviews he arrived at Ms Lee’s flat and found her covered in blood.

He claimed that as he tried to pick her up off the floor of her apartment she threw a step ladder at him which hit his arm and smashed through a window in the flat.

Senior defence counsel Mark Nicholas SC, said Ryan was unemployed and had two previous convictions, neither for assault.

“Its a desperate case,” he said.

The court heard that both the accused and the victim had addiction issues at the time.

They were living “chaotic lives at the time”, Mr Nicholas said.

Mr Nicholas urged the court to “measure” its sentence on Ryan.

“We don’t know how it started. There was shouting and roaring throughout the day; it was a two-way street,” he said.

“There’s no doubt it was bad assault, but we don’t know how it played out.”

“There was ongoing disharmony and things took a bad turn. It spiralled out of control.”

“It was not planned.”

Judge Tom O’Donnell said Ms Lee had to be commended for her efforts in her recovery and for dealing with her addictions issues.

He said he will pass sentence on Ryan on October 24.

Online Editors

Source: Irish