Trinity postgrad is spared prison over attack that left man with fractured skull
A JUDGE suspended a six-year prison sentence on a Trinity College postgraduate who left a man with severe head injuries after throwing him over a 15ft drop.
John Whipple (35) claimed he attacked the victim because the man had urinated on his shoes.
His victim was left with a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain and facial palsy. He spent two months in hospital and was unable to close his eyes or hear for six months.
When an onlooker asked him why he had thrown the man over the wall, Whipple replied by shrugging his shoulders.
Whipple, of Ashley Avenue, Swords, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday to causing serious harm to John Kennedy at Lower Abbey Street, Dublin, on February 11, 2011.
The married father of one is originally from America and at the time of the attack he was studying at TCD , where he was voted student of the year.
Judge Martin Nolan said it was unfortunate that there was a 15ft drop behind the railings. He accepted that Whipple probably did not realise how substantial the fall was but did know there was at least an 8ft drop behind the railing.
"It seems unlikely that he intended to cause the injuries he did, but if he had thought about it, he would have realised what he did would cause the victim serious injury," the judge said.
He added: "He acted in the absence of judgment but does not deserve a custodial sentence."
The judge sentenced Whipple to six years in prison, which he suspended in full on condition that he pay more than €10,000 to the victim within a week.
The court heard that Mr Kennedy was seen in the area, stumbling around in a seemingly drunken state. Whipple had finished college, where he was studying for a masters, and was waiting for the bus home on Abbey Street.
Mr Kennedy was seen on CCTV approaching people at the bus stop. He approached Whipple and another man and after some interaction, Whipple grabbed him by the groin and neck and then threw him over a railing.
On the other side there was a 15ft drop on to a concrete floor. Mr Kennedy hit the ground and lay in a pool of blood until gardai and an ambulance arrived.
When someone asked Whipple why he had thrown the man, Whipple responded: "He p****d on my shoes and I'm sick of it."
When someone else asked him what he had done, Whipple shrugged his shoulders.
After gardai arrived, he admitted he had done it. He later went to the garda station and said Mr Kennedy was drunk, refused to leave him alone and urinated on his shoes.
The court heard that Whipple was extremely remorseful.