Sunday 25 September 2016

Man (24) who punched woman in the head and grabbed her throat in attempted handbag snatch is jailed for three years

Declan Brennan

Published 18/03/2016 | 16:25

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

A man who began taking Ecstasy tablets and sniffing petrol at the age of six has been jailed for three years for carrying out a violent attempted handbag snatch.

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Anthony Dwyer (24) punched Rose Kim repeatedly in the head and grabbed her throat when she refused to let go of her bag.

Dwyer, formerly of Yellow Meadows Ave, Clondalkin, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attempted robbery at Kilbarrack Rd. on May 30, 2013. He also admitted two offences of criminal damage at Howth Junction DART station on the same date.

Judge Melanie Greally said the attack was “disgraceful” and imposed a sentence of three years for the attempted robbery. She also imposed a consecutive sentence of two years for criminal damage of parked cars but she suspended this sentence to leave “light at the end of the tunnell” for Dwyer.

Leo Mulrooney BL, defending, told the court that his client's formative years had been blighted by dysfunction. His aunt took him into foster care when he was three years old and his mother died when he was aged just five.

By six years, he was sniffing petrol, taking “E” and smoking cannabis and all this was detailed in care plans from the State's Child and Family Agency. By his early teenage years his aunt couldn't deal with his behaviour and he was taken into residential care.

Dwyer's 47 previous convictions include one for assault and one for robbery as well as 20 for criminal damage.

Dwyer had been drinking at Portmarnock Beach on the day of the offences and had also taken Benzodiazepam tablets. The attempted robbery only ended when a passing motorist stopped, got out and walked over to help.

Dwyer walked away and into the nearby DART station, where he smashed the windows of two cars and tried to hot wire one vehicle. He was picked up by gardai here and initially denied attacking the woman.

Counsel said the good news is that his client had stopped abusing tablets and was in a stable relationship and has a young child.

Judge Greally suspended the two years for the criminal damage offences on condition that Dwyer keep the peace for three years and obey all instructions of the Probation Services in relation to treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse.

The court heard that the victim was walking up to her home when she saw Dwyer rummaging in her bins. She felt uneasy and kept walking past her home but Dwyer followed her.

He pushed her in the back and then punched her in the head before grabbing her bag. She didn't let go of the bag and he kept pulling and began punching her in the head.

He grabbed her throat but the victim held on to the bag and dragged him with her to a neighbour's house to get help. She was screaming for help but there was nobody around.

Dwyer never let go of the bag during all this time, even as two women came over to help and tried to push him away. He only walked away when the man came over to help.

At this point the victim was lying on the ground while Dwyer punched her around the head a few times. She was sobbing and gasping for breath, the court heard.

After his arrest Dwyer told gardai he couldn't remember anything about the robbery but said he wouldn't have done that, adding: “Any man that hits a woman is a dirt bird”.

Judge Greally commented that this was an apt description. She said that Dwyer had a very difficult and disturbed youth.

She said she was structuring the sentence to allow him light at the end of the tunnel and in the hope that he could break a “disgraceful” cycle of criminality.

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