Man who fled Nigeria remanded after assault on ex-girlfriend

A Nigerian national who claimed he escaped to Ireland after finding five members of his family murdered in their home has been remanded for sentence for assaulting his estranged girlfriend and mother of their child.

Olatunbosun Salawu (aged 21), Clonliffe Road, Ballybough also allegedly tried to hang himself in his Dublin apartment after he assaulted the woman but was saved by a friend and taken to hospital.

Salawu, a construction site worker, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to the woman on December 10, 2004 and to theft of a mobile phone on the same occasion.

Garda Pat Buckley told prosecuting counsel, Mr Luan O Braonain BL, that Salawu left her with fractures to her left cheek bone and right jaw as well as multiple bruising on her upper body.

She heard him say he was going to kill her and as a result of the constant fear she suffered following the assault she had now left Dublin to live in another town. She also underwent anxiety counselling.

Judge Donagh McDonagh remanded Salawu in custody for sentence later. He had no previous convictions.

Garda Buckley said that Salawu had been phoning the woman demanding to talk to her to try and rekindle their broken relationship. He forced his way into her flat where he began hitting her repeatedly even after she fell to the floor.

Salawu said: “I accept I am guilty” when arrested but did not accept her claim of a threat to kill her. He had stopped hitting her quite suddenly and had slumped to the floor with his hands on his head saying: “My God, what is going to happen to me.”

Mr Derek Cooney BL, defending, said Salawu had been suffering from depression and anxiety at the time due to the effects of finding five members of his family murdered in their Nigerian home. His local mosque had helped him get to Ireland. He had saved �1,000 to offer to the woman

Mr Cooney said Salawu and the victim had “a civil conversation” some days previously when he left a Christmas present for their child but she refused to resume their formal relationship.

He did not have a drink or drugs problem but after that meeting he consumed five pints of beer and snorted cocaine.

Garda Buckley agreed with Mr Cooney that after the assault, Salawu came back later that day looking to apologise to the victim and he also returned her mobile phone.

Garda Buckley said he believed Salawu�s remorse was genuine and he had told witness that what he done to the woman didn�t make any sense to him. When he saw the photographs of her injuries he said: “Oh my God, I�m sorry” and accepts now there is no chance of a reconciliation with the woman.

He also agreed with Mr Cooney that Salawu could have fled from Ireland after the charges were struck out by another court but had remained and always turned up for court appearances while on bail.

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