Dublin woman who survived knife attack calls for law form 6 days ago

Dublin woman who survived knife attack calls for law form

Ruth was attacked in 2016.

A Dublin woman who survived a knife attack but was left with life changing injuries has called for urgent law reform in Ireland.

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Ruth Maxwell was attacked by a sex offender in Clondalkin in 2016, when a man approached her from behind, put a knife to her neck, and attempted to place a cloth over her face.

Grabbing the blade of the knife with her hand, Ruth was able to free herself, severing three tendons in her fingers in the process.

"I was walking down to catch the Luas at the Red Cow in Clondalkin to go to work," she told RTÉ's 2FM today.

"Before I knew it these arms were around me. In the left hand was a cloth trying to get to my face and in the other was a knife at my chin.

"Within seconds the knife had come down to my throat, but I was very lucky that I had my hand under my handbag strap on my shoulder. I just pulled the hand out, and grabbed the blade of the knife."

Running down a laneway, Ruth was met by two men who aided in calling for help. She received medical attention and later physiotherapy, but never regained full movement of her fingers.

"Everything I could do physically was over for the foreseeable future," she said.

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"My hand was bandaged up. I couldn’t brush my hair, tie my shoelaces, or get dressed. The first year was probably the most traumatic of my life."

The man who attacked Ruth, Slawomir Gierlowski, was imprisoned for 18 and a half years in 2018, for attacks on three women in Dublin over a five year period. A further 10 years was recently added to his sentence over the attack of a fourth woman.

Ruth said today that she wants reform to ensure that carrying a knife does not become normal for Ireland's youth. She is also calling early intervention and prevention.

"We can’t allow this kind of knife crime to become normalised," she said. "We can’t become complacent, we have a responsibility to intervene at this crucial stage of children's lives.

"How many kids are going out on a weekend evening, checking ‘have I got my phone, have I got my money, have I got my knife in my pocket'?

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"With younger offenders I do think the Scottish approach, which is all about prevention and early intervention, could be taken on board with the start of justice."