Saturday 10 December 2016

Teenager held knife to a 16-year-old's face and stabbed a man with a barbecue fork during crime spree

Isabel Hayes

Published 01/06/2016 | 17:35

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

A teenager who committed a string of crimes in the space of a month – including holding a knife to a 16-year-old's face and stabbing a man with a barbecue fork – will be sentenced in July.

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Karl Smith, 19, with an address in Rutland Ave, Crumlin, Dublin, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to a 21-year-old man, threatening to kill a 16-year-old boy, criminal damage to a front door and two counts of producing a weapon.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard today that Smith, then aged 18, banged on the door of the house belonging to Devon Whiston, on Cashel Rd, Crumlin, in the early hours of the morning on May 30, 2015.

Garda Michael Redmond told the court Mr Whiston (21) and his housemate were acquainted with Smith and were afraid of him. “They knew the company he kept and that fear alone was enough to not stand in his way,” Gda Redmond said.

After Smith damaged the door, Mr Whiston let him in, the court heard. Smith then walked into the kitchen, grabbed a steak knife and refused to let Mr Whiston, his female lodger and two other men leave.

“He wouldn't let them leave, he was being abusive and they were in fear,” Gda Redmond said, adding it was clear to the group that Smith was intoxicated and on drugs.

The court heard Smith eventually calmed down and Mr Whiston left the scene to go to work. However, two weeks later, on June 15, he woke up on his couch to find Smith standing over him.

Gda Redmond said Smith initially had an amicable conversation with Mr Whiston before he became increasingly “erratic” and a fight broke out. He bit Mr Whiston's arm and stabbed him in the leg with a barbecue fork he took from the kitchen, Gda Redmond said.

Smith then beat Mr Whiston with a rolling pin before robbing a number of items from the house including a TV, an X-Box gaming system and a computer.

Mr Whiston contacted gardaí the next morning and reported both incidents to them. Gda Redmond said Mr Whiston was “absolutely petrified” after the incident and sold his house as a result.

Gda Redmond agreed with defence barrister Caroline Biggs, SC, that there was “no rhyme or reason” to Smith's behaviour, which was “drug-fuelled and drug-induced”.

A couple of weeks later, on June 27 2015, Smith gate-crashed a house party with several 16-year-olds present. Garda Paul Kelly told the court Smith became increasingly aggressive before grabbing a knife in the kitchen, holding it to the face of one boy present, cutting his cheek and threatening to kill him.

Another boy escaped the house – injuring his hip in the process – and alerted gardaí. When gardaí arrived they found the house empty and three teenagers hiding in the garden, the court heard.

Smith returned to the scene and was arrested, Gda Kelly said. He later told gardaí he had no recollection of the events as he had taken drugs and alcohol that night.

The court heard Smith, who is currently on remand for a public order offence, has five convictions for offences which occurred after this date.

Defence barrister Caroline Biggs, SC, said Smith's behaviour had spiralled out of control in a short space of time. She said he had no previous convictions before he turned 18, but had become dependent on prescription drugs.

“That misuse stems from mental health difficulties that arose in 2014,” Ms Biggs said. She asked that the case be adjourned so a psychiatric report could be obtained.

Judge Patrick McCartan said there was little evidence Smith was suffering from psychiatric issues.

“There's nothing in what I've heard so far that indicates to me anything other than a young man gone astray and I don't see anything that suggests to me he is psychiatrically disturbed,” he said.

He ordered a psychiatric report and drug testing and adjourned the matter for sentencing on July 25.

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