Man jailed for attempted murder of girlfriend - Hemel Hempstead

01/04/2016

A man appeared at St Albans Crown Court today, Friday, 01 April 2016, and was given an extended sentence of 20 years for the attempted murder of his girlfriend in Hemel Hempstead last June.

John McAleer, aged 24, from Belsize Road, Hemel Hempstead was with his 21-year-old girlfriend in a fourth floor flat in Waterhouse Street, Hemel Hempstead on 30 June 2015. Following an argument within the flat, they went out onto the balcony where he threw his victim over the edge. She fell 45 feet and suffered serious, life changing, injuries.

John McAleer denied attempted murder, but was found guilty on 20 November 2015, following a three week trial. In court today, Judge Marie Catterson deemed him to be a danger to the public and, therefore, imposed an extended sentence of 20 years. McAleer was told that the custody element of his sentence would be 15 years and, when the parole board decide he is safe to be released, he will remain on licence for five years.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved the attempted murder of a 21-year-old woman by her 24-year-old boyfriend, John McAleer, at his sister's flat in Hemel Hempstead last June.

"At about 3am on 30 June 2015, and following a disagreement and an assault on the victim by McAleer in the hallway of the flat, the victim, now aged 22, and McAleer were on the 4th floor balcony talking/arguing. He has turned to walk away when the victim said something. He angrily turned back and she put her leg up in defence. He grabbed her leg, pushed it up and threw her over the balcony, causing her to fall 45 feet and suffer severe injuries including a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain, and major trauma to her abdominal organs. She was taken to St Mary's Hospital in London for treatment. She has not fully recovered from her injuries, has no memory of what happened and still suffers from hearing and speech impairments. There is no doubt that McAleer intended to kill the victim. He clearly acted out of blind rage in a grossly disproportionate manner and is undoubtedly an extremely dangerous man.

"McAleer denied attempted murder, initially claiming he hadn't seen the victim fall, but later claiming he stumbled into her before she fell. However, on 20 November 2015, at St Albans Crown Court, he was found guilty, by a jury, of attempted murder, after a 3-week trial, despite his denials.

"We have worked closely with the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved. The CPS and police are committed to protecting the public from dangerous and violent criminals and will continue to vigorously prosecute all such offenders. Today's sentence should act as a deterrent to others that domestic violence will simply not be tolerated in our communities.

"We know that nothing can undo what happened to the victim, but we hope that the conviction and today's sentence bring her and her family at least a small sense that justice has been done. We also hope that the victim, who has shown great courage throughout this process, continues with her recovery. Our thoughts are very much with her at this time."

Detective Chief Inspector Jerome Kent from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit said: "John McAleer subjected his girlfriend to domestic abuse on previous occasions. The court heard from witnesses to some of those attacks and I would like to thank them for the tremendous support we received from them during this case.

"Whilst the victim will never fully recover from what happened to her, the sentence which has been given to John McAleer fully reflects the severity of his actions and I hope will bring some comfort to her.

"No-one should suffer domestic abuse and in Hertfordshire we are committed to preventing and tackling this serious crime and bringing offenders to justice. We fully understand it's not easy for victims to come forward, however, I would urge anyone suffering domestic abuse to please call police. We have specialist teams who can support you and I can reassure you officers will deal with cases with sensitivity and understanding. Please do not suffer alone."