Man found guilty of attempted murder is jailed for 15 years

John McAleer, 24, of Belsize Road, Hemel Hempstead
John McAleer, 24, of Belsize Road, Hemel Hempstead

A man who threw his girlfriend from a fourth-floor balcony has been sentenced to 15 years for attempted murder today (Friday, April 1).

John McAleer, 24, of Belsize Road, Hemel Hempstead, had an argument with his girlfriend Danielle Hammond, 21, at a flat in Lord Alexander House in Waterhouse Street on June 30 last year.

Following the altercation at around 3am, Danielle went out on to the balcony where McAleer threw her over the edge.

She fell 45ft into bushes below and suffered serious injuries including a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain and severe trauma to her abdominal organs.

Danielle was taken to St Mary’s Hospital in London where she spent several months. She has not fully recovered from her injuries, has no memory of what happened and still suffers from hearing and speech impairments.

McAleer denied attempted murder but was found guilty on November 30, 2015 following a three week trial at St Albans Crown Court.

He will serve an extended licence of five years once he is released from prison.

At the sentencing today, the judge branded him ‘dangerous’.

Detective Chief Inspector Jerome Kent 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.”

Talking about the incident, Adrian Foster - chief crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) - said: “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.

“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.”