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How can a convicted murderer have treatment at the state's expense, while an artist savaged in an assault must rely on the kindness of strangers, asks Jennifer O'Connell.

13th November, 2011
Alexandra Trotsenko's right hand after the attack.

It was just after lunchtime on an ordinary Wednesday afternoon in September 2009 when Alexandra Trotsenko was attacked. She was alone in her Dublin apartment, and heard a knock on the door.

Opening it, she came face to face with a man standing in the sunlit hallway. He was wearing a balaclava, holding two huge knives to his chest and asked her about a woman called Joan.

"It looked to me like something unreal, something from...

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