Gerard and Guanita Brady pictured at a previous court sitting. Picture: Thomas Gallagher
A young Ballyshannon woman told a court she was haunted by the fact that she could have died in a pool of blood in the middle of the street, after she was the victim of a “vicious” and sustained attack from another woman.
“I was nearly beaten to death,” Rebecca Kennedy told Donegal Circuit Court.
“I still find it hard to believe that it took three hours for the blood to be taken from my hair.
“When I looked at the CCTV of the incident I could not believe I had survived.”
Ms Kennedy said her “life changed forever” after she was repeatedly punched in the head by 30-year-old Guanita Brady, Bates Park, Greenisland, County Antrim and kicked in the head once by the defendant’s father Gerard Brady (55), Laughill, Belleek, County Fermanagh as she lay in the street in Market Street ,Ballyshannon after an altercation with the Bradys on February 5 last year.
Both defendants admitted assault causing harm to Rebecca Kennedy at Market Street, Ballyshannon on February 5 last year.
Guanita Brady also admitted assaulting Simon Ferris on the same date.
Ms Kennedy added in her written victim impact statement, which she read in court:
“I was hurt so bad I did not believe I would survive.
“When I woke up in the hospital, I thought I was in a car accident.
“From being a strong, confident and ambitious person, I am a shadow of what I used to be’.
She added she was now suffering from depression and post traumatic stress disorder, had dark nightmares and had spent her savings on medical care.
Gerard Brady and Guanita Brady. Picture: Thomas Gallagher
Her boyfriend Simon Ferris, whom Guanita Brady admitted commonly assaulting, told the court in his victim impact statement said he “thought his girlfriend was dead” when he saw her on the street.
“Her body was battered and bruised and she was unconscious”.
He said that both their lives had altered irrevocably and they were fearful and could not go into places that they used to.
Simon Ferris said the couple stayed in at night.
The court heard earlier that the Bradys had assaulted the victim following an earlier incident in the smoking room of Dicey Reilly’s public house.
Garda Meehan told the court that gardai found Rebecca Kennedy unresponsive when they arrived at the scene.
The garda said CCTV evidence shown in court, showed Guanita Brady with her right knee on the injured party’s head and repeatedly striking her to the head after grabbing her by her hair and pulling her to the ground.
The accused struck Rebecca Kennedy 13 times on the head and the CCTV also showed Gerard Brady walk towards the two women and kick the injured party once in the head.
At voluntary interview both Bradys made admissions and expressed remorse with Gerard Brady saying he was drunk and hoped the injured party recovered, the court heard.
He said he was 54 and had never been in trouble before.
Guanita Brady asked if Rebecca Kennedy was okay.
A tearful Brady added:
“I can’t believe I did that to that poor girl and I don’t know where that anger came from”.
She said she had been drunk and had been on medication.
Medical reports read out in court said Rebecca Kennedy was taken to Sligo General Hospital and was unconscious on arrival and had a tube inserted in her nose.
She was disorientated and had pains in her head.
The injured party was brought back to the hospital for further tests before being discharged.
Defence counsel for Gerard Brady, Peter Nolan BL said the assault was “entirely out of character”.
Gerard Brady had been drinking heavily when he saw his daughter bleeding from an ear where an earring had been pulled from her ear.
Mr. Nolan said his client went out to the street and went over to the “two fighting ladies”, so there was a context to this matter.
He kicked Rebecca Kennedy in the head
Mr. Nolan said this was not a random attack but “none of it was excusable”
Mr Nolan said it was “an appalling tragedy” that should never have happened to two families who had been out celebrating and it turned into a nightmare for all concerned.
Gerard Brady did not know how he lost his temper, but he accepted that he lost it.
And why he kicked this young defenceless woman was a mystery.
Mr Nolan said the consequences for Gerard Brady would be the loss of his job as a respected carer with the HSE for 24 years, and his daughter Guanita had already lost her job.
“Two families’ lives have been affected by something that should not have happened.
“Mr Brady is not a criminal, he is someone who has committed a criminal act.”
He had pleaded guilty before he saw the CCTV evidence, his remorse was genuine and he was “disgusted” with himself.
Character references were produced in court including one from Canon Ramon Munster on behalf of the defendant.
The Probation Service in Northern Ireland had assessed him as being at a low risk of re-offending and would be suitable for a Community Service Order.
Mr Nolan said this matter had been “all over social media” and Gerard Brady had got some “obnoxious messages”.
The counsel said there was another avenue open to Ms Kennedy if she chose to use it.
Counsel for Guanita Brady Mr Toner said his client was 30-years-of-age and “should have an incredible career in front of her”.
She was out celebrating a birthday and an altercation had taken place with Guanita Brady, Rebecca Kennedy and other persons not before the court earlier.
But she took “full responsibility” and made “full admissions” for what had happened
And while alcohol was a factor it was never an excuse, the counsel added.
There was a psychiatric report and the mix of alcohol and medication was “not a wise choice”.
Guanita Brady had a Phd in Software Engineering and was a lecturer in Belfast Metropolitan College at the time of the incident.
But on the following day of an earlier sitting, an article appeared in the Belfast Telegraph and matters appeared on social media which resulted in the defendant being called to a meeting and given an ultimatum of resigning or being dismissed from her job, the counsel said.
She had struggled to get another job and had to declare the matter before the court, but had re-trained since and was now in different employment.
“Academically, the world should be her oyster”, said the counsel.
Ms Brady had made an early guilty plea, had suffered mentally and societally, had lost her previous job and has to face up to the fact that people will know her.
But she had “not run away” but stayed in Northern Ireland.
She said she wished she could explain why she did the act “but can’t”.
Owing to her age, she has suffered even more than her father on social media and was a lecturer who unfortunately lost her position.
A Probation Report from Northern Ireland was very positive.
She was at a low level of being likely to re-offend.
And she would be suitable for a Community Service Order.
Judge John Aylmer said this was a “very troubling case” that would need “careful consideration”.
He adjourned sentencing until December 4.