Letterkenny court house.
A Donegal man went through his ex-girlfriend’s bedroom window and began punching her new partner while the couple slept.
Daniel Ferry (26), of Shroughan, Falcarragh, left a ‘bloodbath’ in the bedroom of Kerrie McFadden when he broke into her home.
Ferry was before Letterkenny Circuit Court having pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary when he entered Ms McFadden’s home on August 7, 2020 and committed an assault.
Ferry also pleaded guilty to assaulting Barry McGinley and of harassment of Ms McFadden between August 3-7, 2020.
On August 7, 2020, Mr McGinley woke up at 7.50am with man straddling him and punched him on the face.
He was able to identify his attacker as Daniel Ferry, the ex-boyfriend of Ms McFadden.
Garda Gallagher told the court that when he went to Letterkenny University Hospital to meet with Mr McGinley, he noticed the right-hand side of Mr McGinley’s face was completely swollen, from his right eye to his jawline. His lips and nose were beginning to turn black with bruising.
Garda Gallagher heard that Mr McGinley was the victim of an unprovoked assault when he was in bed asleep Ms Kerry McFadden.
Ms McFadden told Gardaí that Ferry was punching Mr McGinley with both fists. “I didn’t know if he was unconscious,” Ms McFadden told Gardaí.
The court heard that Ferry had initiated a break-up with Ms McFadden, with whom he had been in a relationship for six years, and there had seemed to be no animosity.
Garda Gallagher said Ferry sent a snapchat message to a group of friends saying: “Not nice to find your partner of six years in bed with another man. Let’s hope his head is as sore as my knuckles”.
Counsel for the State, Ms Patricia McLaughlin BL, said Ferry had sent Ms McFadden several text messages, attended at her house and had followed she and Mr McGinley in the car.
“He was calling her persistently and he arrived at her driveway,” Ms McLaughlin said.
Ms McFadden said in a victim impact statement that her house had been left ‘like a bloodbath’ and she had to replace furniture. Cleaners were required to clean up the room.
“All I am left with is the place that he thought he had a right to violate,” Ms McFadden said. “His actions have taken my home away.”
In the victim impact statement, read into the court record by Ms McLaughlin, Ms McFadden said her life had changed ‘in every way’ since the incident.
“I was the most independent person I know, but I moved out of the house and I was a 24-year-old who needed someone to stay with them due to nightmares and I sleep with the lights on,” she said in her statement.
“My nightly routine is now checking locks. His violation of my home and the stalking has taken away my independence and my trust in people. I can’t le anyone close to me.”
Ms McFadden told how Ferry was in a ‘fit of rage and unpredictable’.
“I should have left the relationship,” she said. “He was always jealous, he was never happen when I got promoted at work or when I was seeing friends. He would imply that I wouldn’t get anything done in life. He was happy when he was controlling everything.
“I have struggled to maintain healthy relationships since. I have withdrawn from family and friends and I don’t trust my own judgement.”
Ms McFadden recalled how she was taking her grandmother to a shop when they met Ferry who slowed down in his lorry and smirked towards her. On another occasion, he sent a text message to say he had seen her car. Ms McFadden required her mother to drive her, but she religiously checked that the car was locked and the brakes were working.
Ms McFadden has since left a management position in a job she loved to live in the United Arab Emirates.
“I couldn’t see any other way out,” she said. “The decision did not come lightly. My confidence was completely knocked. I have had to restart my whole life. The thought of living in Falcarragh any more is daunting.”
Ms McFadden remembered attending a concert and how Ferry ‘stood behind us all night’.
“Repeated actions such as this was very intimidating,” she said, adding how she could not post her location on social media like her peers. “I was doing everything to keep my location private.”
In his victim impact statement, Mr McGinley said he felt ‘so fortunate to be still alive and conscious’ after the attack. “I felt so vulnerable and I felt defenceless,” he said. “There was nothing I could do and it intimidated me a lot.
“When the doctors told me that my skull may be fractured and my nose broke, it dawned on me how things could have changed and it was scary.
“It is something I have to live with. I am always aware who’s around and making sure that things are locked. I started to appreciate how lucky I am after that night. One millimetre either side, who knows where I would be?”
Mr McGinley required surgery on his nose and he told how cracked and chipped teeth had made him ‘so conscious’.
Ms Fiona Maguire BL, for Ferry, said her client had €2,000 by way of compensation in court and a further €8,000 would be made available ‘to offer as some form of apology and restitution’.
“Mr Ferry couldn’t cope when Ms McFadden began dating Mr McGinley,” Ms Maguire said. “He struggled to come to terms with it. She was his life as he had known it. He took his emotion and the subject of his anger and hurt out on Mr McGinley. He accepted that at the very outset when he made full admissions in interview.”
Ferry has six previous convictions for minor road traffic offences.
Garda Gallagher told the court that Ferry was ‘remorseful in interview’. Ferry told Gardaí that he ‘saw red’ and was ’very sorry for what he did’.
Judge John Aylmer remanded Ferry on continuing bail and adjourned the matter to May 20, 2022 for finalisation.
Judge Aylmer asked that the victims’ attitude to the compensation be canvassed.
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