An Irish groom who kicked and punched his new wife in the bridal suite of their hotel on their wedding night has avoided jail time this week after pleading guilty to charges of assault. Kevin Joseph McGrath, 28, originally from Co. Tyrone, had been drinking since 10am on the day of his wedding and was being reprimanded by the bride, Melissa, for vomiting on the floor of the bridal suite when he turned violent, assaulting his new wife before falling asleep. McGrath claims he does not remember anything after the wedding meal ended at 8pm that day and does not recall assaulting his wife.
Police were called to the White River House Hotel in Toomebridge, Co. Antrim, at 5am on October 2, 2016, after the bride fled the bridal suite following her husband’s vicious attack. McGrath is believed to have kicked and punched his wife, even putting his hands around her throat and leaving her “very scared.” Reporting the incident to hotel staff, she was taken to the hospital to be treated for her injuries, which were not outlined in court while McGrath, who now lives in Desertmartin, Co Derry, was “kicked out” of the hotel.
The new bride told police on arrival that she had been “scolding” her husband and he proceeded to put his hands around her throat “hurting her.” Photos of the injuries sustained were shown to the judge District Judge Alan White. McGrath’s barrister claims he can not account for the injuries inflicted on his wife.
Defense barrister Michael Ward described the incident in court as a “very disturbing set of circumstances”, stating that the defendant had been stressed out in the run up to the wedding, as a result of the Best Man “taking himself elsewhere” and with some frustration over the music being played by the DJ.
Ward explained it was supposed to be a “supposed to be a very special day for them” with McGrath having saved up $8,740 (£7,000) for the wedding day. The couple has been in a relationship for four years and has been engaged since 2013. They also have a young daughter together.
“He can’t remember anything after the meal,” said Ward, adding “after being kicked out he doesn’t know how he got to Desertmartin.”
Having previously pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm on his wife, McGrath returned to the Antrim Magistrates Court on Tuesday, November 29, to receive his sentence. Placing him on two years probation the Antrim judge also ordered McGrath to take part in Building Better Relationships program and ordered him to carry out 100 hours of community service.
McGrath was ordered to pay $354 (£300) in compensation to his wife, and the judge noted the sentence was “a direct alternative to immediate custody”. He has seen neither his wife or their daughter since the assault took place two months ago.
Speaking on behalf of his client, Ward stated McGrath wished to unreservedly apologize to his wife.
“He has lost everything as a result of what happened,” the barrister stated.
Judge White credited McGrath for his previous clear record and for admitting guilty but confirmed it was an “extremely serious assault,” as well as “a very sad commentary on the effects of alcohol when taken to excess especially on what is meant to be the best day of your life”.