Northern Ireland

Deterrent sentences needed to tackle ‘scourge of domestic violence’

Judge jailed man for harming ex-partner

Derry Crown Court. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Aaron Deery (44) from Clarendon Street in Derry pleaded guilty to assaulting his victim

A judge has said deterrent sentences are needed to tackle what he described as “the scourge of domestic violence in Northern Ireland”.

Judge Neil Rafferty KC made the comment at the crown court in Derry as he jailed for 45 months a man who admitted inflicting domestic violence on his then partner.

Aaron Deery (44) from Clarendon Street in Derry pleaded guilty to assaulting his victim, engaging in the domestic abuse of her with the intention that she suffered physical or psychological harm, aggravated grievous bodily harm with intent and to wounding her with intent.

The offences took place over a three day period in April 2022.

Deery, who had 16 previous convictions, three for serious assaults, was told by Judge Rafferty that the nature of the violence he’d inflicted on his victim was abhorrent.

He said in her victim impact statement the victim wrote that her confidence and self esteem had been shattered as a result of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her then partner.

“The way domestic violence and coercive control works is pernicious and very very wrong because it makes the victims sometimes feel it was their fault. The only person who should have any guilt or shame is this case is the defendant.

“The survivor in this case is an incredibly strong young woman. She made a statement to the police and had the bravery to follow through on it. She should be very proud of herself,” he said.

Addressing the woman directly, Judge Rafferty said “you have moved on from being a victim to being a survivor and that is an incredibly powerful thing for you to do and you have my personal admiration for that. We are here today simply because what happened to you was a crime for which the defendant will be properly punished”.

Judge Rafferty said the defendant and his then victim started a relationship in 2014. It ended seven years later but resumed in January 2022, just four months before the assaults occurred during which Deery grabbed her by the hair, pulled her around his flat, kicked and punched her, banged her head off the floor and hit her several times with the suction tube of a vacuum cleaner.

Jailing Deery, Judge Rafferty told him “your behaviour was violence and abusive and in a domestic setting. It was a serious case of domestic violence against a young woman who did absolutely wrong and who suffered at your hands”.

The judge also imposed a restraining order for five years.