'I tried to say to myself, breathe, just keep breathing, because you’re going to die'- Jessica Bowes recalls attack by ex-boyfriend that left her fighting for her life

Jessica Bowes, the survivor of near-fatal domestic abuse from her ex-boyfriend said that she felt one more blow to the head would have killed her.

After Ms Bowes returned home from a night out in December 2015, her then boyfriend, ex-soldier Jonathan McSherry attacked her and a friend leaving Ms Bowes fighting for her life, with several broken bones in her face.

After McSherry charged from Ms Bowes garden and broke the windshield of her taxi with his fist, he proceeded to attack the mother-of-three, knocking her unconscious twice as he unleashed a barrage of blows to her head.

Speaking on The Late Late Show on Friday, Ms Bowes recalled begging McSherry for her life as she feared one more blow may have been enough to kill her.

“He busted my eye and I fell backwards and my head hit the ground. I lost consciousness. The last thing I saw was him walking towards me,” she recalled.

“I could feel this heat running down my face and I knew it was blood and I thought, ‘Oh my god, I’m bleeding, I’m dying’. I couldn’t open my eyes and I couldn’t move. He was assaulting my friend and I remember waking up and I could hear what was happening in the background. I tried to say to myself, ‘breathe, just keep breathing because you’re going to die.’

“I was trying to take deep breaths and I was coming around a little bit. I thought ‘will I stay here for a minute and see if he goes or will I get up and help her?”

Ms Bowes described how McSherry, who served 22 months for the attack, targeted whichever of the girls were moving and would not stop until they were no longer able to move. When her friend was the target of McSherry’s abuse, Ms Bowes tried to intervene but ended up being attacked by her then-boyfriend again.

“I could hear her screaming and I couldn’t leave her there, I had to help her. I sat up and rolled myself around and tried to crawl over to her. She was in a ball on the ground at this point,” she said.

“He saw that I was moving again and he just walked up to me really casually and gave me a full-force boot in the face. I flew backwards again and I was lying on my back. He grabbed me by the hair and he held my head up standing over me, punching and punching and punching me.

“I was saying, ‘please stop, you’re going to kill me, please stop,’ but he wouldn’t stop. He kicked me a couple of times and then the girl who was with me tried to run again. It was like he was hunting anything that moved. If you moved, he would chase you and he’d hit you until you couldn’t move again.

“He chased after her and I was sitting on the side of the path. My hair was all stuck to the blood and I was trying to figure out where I was on the road. I sat there and I was trying to catch my breath because I was in shock. I probably should have tried to run at that stage but when you’re in shock… I just sat there and he came back and he stood over me again and punched and kicked my I’d say 15 times.”

Ms Bowes suffered a fractured eye socket and skull and a broken nose. Her cheek was also shattered in the attack. Fearing for her life, the Clondalkin woman ran to neighbours house where she eventually took refuge.

“When he made a break for the other girl, I was unconscious at this point but I woke up again and I crawled half way and then I started to run because I could hear him calling me,” she said.

“I ran and banged on my neighbours’ door. I could hear a bit of activity in the house but the spotlight came on and I knew he was on the way back and he would see I was where the spotlight was. I lay down on the ground and I wrapped my arms around the wheel of the car and put my head under the car. My face was burning and I could barely see through my eyes, they were so badly swollen and I was covered in blood.

“He had kicked me between the legs twice when I was crawling backwards but every other blow was to the head so I really felt like if he punched or kicked me in the head again that that could have been the last punch or kick that I was going to be able to take.

“I heard the key turning and the door opened and I just dived in between the neighbour and the wall. I remember my neighbour saying to his wife, there’s a girl here and she’s hurt. She saw my dress and I had put up a photograph that night of what I was wearing. She said to him, that’s Jessica and they didn’t know it was me because my face was so badly damaged and I was covered in blood.”

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