The man who murdered mother-of-two Sharon Bennett, 29, was convicted today of assaulting a woman in her own bedroom late one night a month before Ms Bennett was murdered.
In Ennis District Court, Judge Mary Larkin sentenced Patrick Ballard, 35, formerly of the Ashford Court Hotel, Ennis, to nine months in prison for assaulting the woman at her home in Ennis two days before Christmas in December 2020.
Judge Larkin sentenced Mr Ballard to jail for the December 23 assault, saying: “The fact that this woman was attacked in her bedroom as he was kicking down the door must have been an extraordinarily frightening event.
“It wasn’t just a one off event – Mr. Ballard has 140 criminal records and that has to be considered quite significant in the context of criminal conduct,” the judge said.
After reading the woman’s victim statement, Judge Larkin said she needed to consider the victims in these cases “and consider how society has been endangered by Mr. Ballard’s conduct.”
Judge Larkin said she accepts that Mr Ballard “has had an extraordinarily difficult life and has suffered from mental health issues”.
Earlier this month, Mr Ballard was sentenced to life imprisonment at Dublin’s Central Criminal Court after pleading guilty to the murder of his former partner Sharon Bennett at the Market Area in Ennis, two days into the trial.
Mr Ballard kicked and kicked Ms Bennett in a public toilet in the market area and Ms Bennett died of her injuries two weeks later on 10 February 2021 at Limerick Hospital.
Mr Ballard has been in prison since January 2021 and appeared today via video link from Limerick prison and only spoke to confirm his name and that he could see and hear the court.
Judge Larkin also imposed a six-month sentence on Mr. Ballard, who caused criminal damage at the Ennis home on December 23, 2020, and was considering a second criminal charge.
Mr. Ballard will not be serving additional time in prison as the sentences were not imposed following the life sentence he is serving for the murder of Ms. Bennett.
Mr Ballard’s attorney, Tara Godfrey, told the court that Mr Ballard “made significant attempts to take his own life between November 25, 2020 and January 28, 2021”.
Ms Godfrey said: “Access to mental health services has been very difficult during Covid.
“The homeless services taking care of Mr Ballard were only able to speak to a psychiatric nurse for 45 minutes on the phone following an incident in which he attempted suicide.”
Ms Godfrey said: “Patrick Ballard was in very poor circumstances and had very little psychiatric support. He deeply regrets his actions on December 23, 2020 in relation to these offenses and the other offenses he committed.”
Ms Godfrey submitted a psychiatric and parole report to the court, noting that “this is a particularly sad case”.
https://www.independent.ie/news/patrick-ballard-who-murdered-mother-of-two-sharon-bennett-given-nine-month-sentence-for-assault-on-another-woman-42079926.html Patrick Ballard, who murdered mother-of-two Sharon Bennett, has been sentenced to nine months for assaulting another woman