Friday 24 March 2017

Stab victim urges appeal after attacker given community service

Greg Harkin

A PUBLICAN stabbed during a sustained and vicious attack has called on the DPP to appeal a judge's decision to give one of his attackers community service.

Martin Coyle (35) and his wife Laura (36) were both repeatedly punched and head-butted during the brutal attack.

Mr Coyle, owner of The Village Inn in the sleepy Co Donegal village of Kerrykeel, was furious with the 240-hour community service order handed down by Judge John O'Hagan at Letterkenny Circuit Court.

"I can't believe it. It was like being stabbed all over again," said the distraught father of two.

John Gibbons (26), from Fanad, Co Donegal, pleaded guilty to two Section 3 assault charges. His brother Joe, the court heard, is on the run. He's believed to be in London.

The court heard how the brothers, on the day of their grandmother's funeral in October 2010, had gone to the Village Inn.

They asked to speak to Mr Coyle outside. The publican believed they were going to ask if they could have a drink in the pub, from which John Gibbons was barred.

But when he went outside, both men repeatedly punched and kicked him.


The assault was so vicious the beating continued into the bar and the kitchen of the premises, where John Gibbons used a steak knife to stab Mr Coyle in the back.

"Doctors said that had the blade gone in another two milimetres Martin might not be here," said his wife Laura.

"When I walked out of court, John Gibbons walked out right behind me. I've tried to explain that to our children and I can't.

"I just don't understand how Judge O'Hagan could let him walk free."

The judge said he understood the Coyles may not be happy with the sentence but community service was appropriate.

"It is on his record for his life," said the judge.

Irish Independent

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