A man who punched a woman repeatedly in the face and head as she was out for a walk with her friend has been jailed for two years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

In what a judge described as an “appalling, unprovoked attack,” the mother-of-two was knocked unconscious as she fell to the ground after being assaulted at 11 o’clock in the morning.

The victim was left with no sense of taste or smell due to head injuries suffered in the assault, the court heard.

Ionut Neagu (29) of Rusheeny Avenue, Clonsilla, Dublin pleaded guilty to assault causing harm at Hartstown Park, Clonsilla on on June 6, 2018.

Judge John O’Connor sentenced Neagu to two and a half years’ imprisonment but suspended the final six months, giving credit for his plea of guilty and his lack of relevant previous convictions.

The sentence was backdated to June 14, 2018.

The judge condemned what he said was an “appalling unprovoked attack on a woman, without any justification whatsoever”.

He noted the significant impact of the assault on the woman and her continued suffering, remarking that Neagu didn’t come across as someone “with a lot of empathy”.

The court heard that the woman had been about to enter Hartstown Park with her friend for a walk when they saw a man “looking angry” and cycling around in circles inside the park.

He began shouting insults at the woman, saying she shouldn’t be out of the house without her husband and calling her a “slut”, the court heard.

The man then tried to hit the woman with his bike so the friends decided not to enter the park, and as they walked away he cycled past them.

They told gardaí that Neagu then reappeared “out of nowhere,” threw his bike to the ground and took something from his pocket.

He hit the woman three to four times with a closed fist on her face and head. She fell to the ground and remained unconscious for a few minutes while an ambulance was called.

In a victim impact report noted by the judge, the woman said anxiety had “consumed” her life since the unprovoked attack in broad daylight and that she now suffered from panic attacks and flashbacks.

She said she could only sleep for two to three hours a night and that her appetite had been affected as she could no longer taste or smell food.

The woman, a single mother-of-two, said she feared for her daughters’ safety and wouldn’t let them out on their own, while she herself was afraid to leave the house at night.

She said she used to love cooking and gardening but didn’t feel like doing these activities anymore.

Counsel for Neagu said his client wished to apologise to the victim and was unable to explain his behaviour.

A psychiatric report outlined that Neagu gave two different and contradictory accounts of what had happened, initially saying he didn’t remember hitting the woman, then saying he did.

The court heard Neagu is originally from Romania and has been living in Ireland for ten years.

Counsel said Neagu had some minor previous convictions but nothing of this nature, and that he hoped to resume work when he is released from prison.