independent

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Plumber broke man's skull with hammer

Published 01/04/2014 | 05:32

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A Dublin plumber broke a man's skull with a claw hammer after he found him in his former partner's bed, a court has heard.

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Simon Early (27), of Old Brazil Way, Swords, is to be sentenced later for the attack which left the victim with a 2.7 cm depressed fracture in his skull. He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to David Griffin at Ashton Rise in Swords on October 22, 2011.

Early's former partner and mother of his child described the incident as a 'moment of madness' which was out of character for him.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring said it could also have been the 'last moment' for the victim, who suffered a very serious head injury and could have died or lost brain function.

She adjourned the case to see if Early is suitable for restorative justice, but warned him a jail sentence is still very much an option.

Garda David Smith told Anne Rowland BL, prosecuting, that Early had gone to the home of his former partner, Bethany Hourigan, to drop off their then two-and-a-half year old daughter.

The court heard that there had been an agreement between the estranged couple that no man would stay over at the house while the child was there.

When Ms. Hourigan opened the door, Early asked her if someone had been in his bed and she replied that there had not.

Early then went upstairs and saw Mr. Griffin in the bed. He went downstairs and came back up wielding a claw hammer. He started swinging the hammer at Mr. Griffin, aiming mostly for his head.

Mr. Griffin retreated to the balcony and shouted at Early to relax. He tried to kick the attacker away with both legs, but was backed into the bedroom and fell onto the bed.

The hammer hit his head and Mr. Griffin shouted 'You're going to kill me'. to which Early responded, 'I don't f**king care'.

There was blood pouring down Mr. Griffin's face and Early kept hitting his head, before he ran off shouting 'I'll deal with you again, Griffo'.

A medical report confirmed a fracture to Mr. Griffin's skull causing a depressed fragment of bone 2.7 cm long.

Initially, Mr. Griffin did not want to pursue the matter but he made a statement to gardaí about a month later. Shortly afterwards he went to live in Australia.

He gave a victim impact statement over the phone to gardaí, saying he was fearful for the future in relation the long-effects of his skull fracture. He also said he was nervous around people in certain situations.

Mr. Griffin told gardaí he was not keen for a custodial sentence to be imposed on Early as he was the father of a young child.

Early has four minor previous convictions, all public order offences

John Fitzgerald BL, defending, said his client told gardaí there had been an 'altercation' after he arrived at the house to drop off his daughter.

He considered the fact that there was a man in the house a breach of the agreement he had made with the mother of his child.

Letters were handed to the court from members of the local GAA team where Early plays, describing him as someone whom other players look up to and respect.

Early's mother and the mother of his former partner, described him as a very good father.

The court heard that he is an unemployed plumber but has borrowed €2,000 as a gesture of remorse for his victim.

Judge Ring ordered the money to be released to the victim and put the matter back for sentence on June 4.

Fingal Independent

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