Ardboe man jailed for ‘flamethrower attack’ on young mother

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An Ardboe man has been jailed for two years over a “flamethrower” attack on a 24-year-old mother, which left her scarred for life.

Kevin Quinn (23), from Killycavanan Road, pleaded guilty to charges of assault causing harm and adapting an aerosol deodorant into a weapon contrary to the Republic’s Firearms Act.

Letterkenny Circuit Criminal Court heard how his victim, Shauna McHugh, from Donegal Town, had been staying at the Gallagher’s Hotel in Letterkenny during the Donegal rally weekend in 2015.

In the early hours of June 22, Sergeant Sean McDaid said Ms McHugh answered a knock on the door of the hotel room where she had gone to chat to a friend.

“There was some commotion in the corridor and she looked to her right. She heard someone to her left say ‘hi’ and, when she turned, she saw a man light an aerosol can with a lighter and a large flame hit her in the face,” said Sgt McDaid.

Sgt McDaid told Judge John O’Hagan that gardai at the scene examined CCTV, which showed Quinn, who works at Crumlin Road jail museum in Belfast, go into his room and leave a short time later wearing a different top.

He said gardai were able to identify Quinn and his vehicle and arrested him as he attempted to drive out of Letterkenny later that day.

In her victim impact statement, which Sgt McDaid read to the court, Ms McHugh described how the incident had changed her life.

The judge said Ms McHugh, who now works as an optician’s assistant, continued to suffer the psychological effects of the attack.

He said the attack was “such a serious matter” that it had to attract a custodial sentence and he jailed Quinn for two years, suspending the final year.