Man who poured boiling water over partner given suspended sentence

A man who poured boiling water over his partner’s back in front of their four children has been given a two-year suspended sentence over what a judge described as a despicable and cowardly act.

Karl Harrison was living with the woman and the children, aged between seven months and eight years, in a Dublin hostel at the time of the incident after they were made homeless.

Harrison (27) pleaded guilty to one count of assault causing harm to his partner at his address in Townhouse B&B, Lower Gardiner Street, on April 1st, 2017.

Garda Elise Moran told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that the couple had been drinking vodka that evening and had been arguing over the course of a couple of days.

She was called to the bed and breakfast and met Harrison in the lobby before interviewing his partner in their room. The family of six was living in cramped conditions, the court heard.

The woman told Garda Moran that Harrison grabbed a kettle of boiling water during an argument. She said she turned her back, as she feared he was going to throw it at her, but instead he poured the boiling contents of the kettle over her back before fleeing the room.

Baby’s bottle

The kettle had recently been boiled in order to prepare the baby’s bottle, the court heard. The four children were in the room at the time.

The woman declined to go to hospital, as she said she had nobody to leave her children with. She was treated for burns by paramedics at the scene.

Harrison was arrested and taken into custody. He told gardaí that his partner had “verbally provoked” him. He denied pouring the water on her back but said he threw the kettle into the air and water landed on her.

When shown photographs of his partner’s scalded back he agreed it looked “disgraceful” and said there was no excuse for his actions. He has no previous convictions.

Marie Torrens BL, defending, said the incident occurred when the family was living in difficult conditions and when both parents had been drinking alcohol. She said her client was horrified and ashamed. “He realises he shouldn’t have done this,” Ms Torrens said.

The couple are still together and have since been rehoused in a three-bedroom property, the court heard.

As part of his bail conditions Harrison was ordered to avoid alcohol, and he has complied with this condition, she added.

Judge Martin Nolan said it was a despicable and cowardly act but he did not believe it merited a jail sentence, given the circumstances. “I must take into account they are still living together and still caring for their four children,” the judge said.

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