Friday 22 September 2017

Pair jailed for sledgehammer attack

Conor Gallagher

TWO men have been sentenced to 12 years in prison for kidnapping and inflicting horrific injuries on a drug addict over a €2,000 debt.

The victim's injuries were so severe he almost had to have his arms amputated.

Aurelijus Zrielskis (37) and Gintautas Bagdonas (32) -- both Lithuanians -- beat their victim with a sledgehammer, urinated on him and put a metal rod in his anus. The investigating garda told the court that it was "the most horrendous assault" he had seen in his 28 years on the force.

"I've never seen anything like this," Inspector Michael Coppinger said. "I've never seen this type of violence visited on another human."

After the assault, the men fled while their victim walked a short distance before being found by a farmer. He was treated for life-threatening injuries.

"These gentlemen are thoroughly unpleasant, bad people," Judge Desmond Hogan said.

"They carried out a sinister, premeditated, degrading and sadistic attack to enforce their authority through fear in the murky drug underworld from which they crawled."

He imposed a 12-year sentence on each man. He suspended the last two years of Zrielskis' term and the last three years of Bagdonas' term because of his admissions to gardai.

Zrielskis of Cois Chlair, Claregalway, and Bagdonas from Clan House, Dominick Street, Galway, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to causing serious harm and false imprisonment at an outhouse at Francis Cottage, Menlo, in Galway on May 25, 2010. During their trial in March, they both entered guilty pleas to the lesser charge of assault causing harm as well as false imprisonment. This was accepted by the State.

Insp Coppinger told prosecuting counsel Roisin Lacey that the victim, an Estonian, was a heroin addict and had run up a €2,200 drug debt with the pair.

Counsel for Bagdonas, Feargal Kavanagh, said his client was drinking very heavily at the time of the assault and was sincerely sorry to the victim.

Michael Bowman, defending Zrielskis, also offered his client's apologies.

Irish Independent

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