Monday 25 September 2017

Teen who knocked woman from bike and stole her groceries avoids jail

Jessica Magee

A teenager who knocked a woman off her bike, beat her up and stole her groceries has avoided a jail sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Joseph O'Toole (19) and a co-accused attacked the woman just half an hour after they robbed a pensioner on the same stretch of Church Road, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15.

O'Toole, with an address at The Nurseries, Mulhuddart, pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery on October 19, 2012.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring sentenced O'Toole to three years in prison but suspended it in full, noting he had taken steps to deal with his drug addiction.

Garda Alan Gordon told Martina Baxter BL, prosecuting, that he had been patrolling Church Road with a colleague on the night when they witnessed the second attack.

The officers saw a man coming out from behind the grotto of a holy well kicking and punching a woman and dragging her along the ground by her rucksack.

Gardaí pursued the culprits and eventually arrested O'Toole after a violent struggle.

He continued to behave aggressively at Blanchardstown Garda Station and spat at two gardaí.

The victim, Isabella Szyrajew, had been cycling along Church Road with shopping bags on her handlebars when two men approached who seemed to be in good spirits.

One of the men stopped her and said “What's in your bag?” before grabbing the bike and throwing her to the ground.

She was kicked in the face, head, stomach and back about six times and dragged along the ground by her rucksack, before a female passer-by stopped to help her.

Ms Szyrajew's groceries, worth about €50, were stolen.

She said one of her attackers, later identified as O'Toole, seemed to be stoned and had “wild eyes”.

Half an hour before this attack, Fred Mulligan had been walking along Church Road when two men passed him, one holding a bicycle.

Mr Mulligan said he felt a bang on the head like he had been hit by the bicycle and he was knocked to the ground.

The men started kicking him and shouting “Give me your money,” so he gave them €100 which he had in his pocket to pay for insurance.

The assailants fled and Mr Mulligan rang his son who brought him to hospital.

O'Toole initially denied both attacks but eventually confessed to hitting the woman and said he felt very bad.

“I had no idea what I was doing, I was that drunk,” he said, adding that he had been smoking hash.

O'Toole has eight previous convictions including criminal damage and theft.

Gda Gordon agreed with Anne-Marie Lawlor BL, defending, that O'Toole was a “completely different person” under the influence of alcohol.

He has since successfully graduated from Coolmine Rehabilitation Centre and has been employed since last August.

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