Knife-wielding teen gets eight-year term for injuring garda
A youth who left a young garda fighting for his life after stabbing him in the abdomen last August was given an eight-year sentence yesterday.
Judge Raymond Groarke of the Circuit Criminal Court in Castlebar, Co Mayo, suspended the final three years of the sentence on the 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Following the savage attack in Westport, Co Mayo, on August 9 last, during a street festival, Garda Daryl Mullen (32), a member of the divisional drugs squad, was left fighting for his life.
Gda Mullen, a native of Tuam, Co Galway, underwent emergency surgery at Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar.
His bowel was punctured and he had to have his spleen removed. He still hasn't returned to work.
Before passing sentence yesterday on the accused, who pleaded guilty, Judge Groarke said that the young garda would have lost his life were it not for the fact that he received immediate medical attention.
The judge said the garda had been left lying in hospital with multiple stab wounds on the brink of death and went on to tell the garda's attacker he was "very lucky not to be facing a murder charge".
Judge Groarke said the attack and injury had made a significant impact on the victim both mentally and physically.
He continued: "The sentence does not begin to address the sentence faced by Gda Mullen."
The court heard that the accused, who has had 11 previous periods of detention imposed by the courts, committed the assault on Gda Mullen after receiving early release from a nine-month custodial sentence.
Yesterday, Judge Groarke described the youth as "a troubled young man with an addiction to drink and drugs".
Gardai had bent over backwards in their efforts to help the accused and had done everything humanely possible to rehabilitate him away from crime, the judge said.
The court heard that on the night he attacked Gda Mullen at James's Street, Westport, the accused was intoxicated and had smoked 20 joints of cannabis during the day.
The defendant had shown no remorse nor tried to apologise, the judge said, and hadn't shown the slightest interest in being rehabilitated. There was a high risk of him reoffending.
Judge Groarke sentenced the accused to a total of eight years' detention for causing serious harm to Gda Mullen and for possession of a knife in a public place.
The final three years of the sentence were suspended by the judge subject to the accused complying with certain conditions.