Sunday 18 March 2018

Chef jailed for savage glass attack

Sonya McLean

A CHEF who slashed a recent college graduate’s face with pint glass in a "savage" and "barbaric" attack has been jailed for two and half years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Thomas O’Connell (30) had no explanation or recollection of the assault which left Alan Crowley with such a serious injury that nightclub staff recoiled in horror when he went to them for assistance.

The victim later told gardai he was standing at the bar when he was hit in the face with a pint glass. He was worried straight away because he knew it was a bad cut and his face suddenly felt limp “like wet newspaper”.

Mr Crowley told the court that he needed 50 internal and external stitches from his forehead to his chin and reconstructive surgery to repair the damage caused.

Judge Martin Nolan, who viewed what he described as “frightening” photographs of the injuries, told Mr Crowley that his facial scars were not as bad as he had expected them to be having looked at the photographs. He said the surgical team who treated Mr Crowley should be complimented

Mr Crowley said since the attack he is very self conscious and is no longer as confident as he had been. He experiences both numbness and sharp pains in his face. He is embarrassed by the scar because he said people make “assumptions about my character”.

He said at the time of the assault he had just finished college and was due to go for interviews but couldn’t because of his injuries.

“I was very shocked by his barbaric behaviour. His stupid 20 second decision has had a life altering impact on me,” Mr Crowley said before he added that he did not think the court should show O’Connell any leniency because “he showed me none”.

O’Connell of Whitechurch Park, Rathfarnham, pleaded guilty to assault causing Mr Crowley harm at Howl at the Moon on Lower Mount Street on July 9, 2011. He has one previous conviction for a public order offence.

Tony McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting, told Judge Nolan that the Director of Public Prosecution wanted him to tell the court that she views the assault as being at the highest end for this type of offence.

Judge Nolan said the victim was “minding his own business when for his own reason Mr O’Connell attacked him with a glass”.

He described the attack as “savage” and said for some reason Mr Crowley became the focus of O’Connell’s anger.

Judge Nolan accepted O’Connell’s plea of guilty and the fact that he had €8,500 as a token of his remorse in court.

Garda Mark Eccles said Mr Crowley later told gardai he had not provoked his attacker and that his friends describe him as “a gentle giant”.

Mr Crowley said he went he went to the cloak room staff to get help but they recoiled when they saw his injuries so he went to the door staff who called an ambulance.

Gda Eccles said O’Connell was later pointed out by other club goers as the culprit and the gardai were called. He was verbally abusive to the staff and was not able to recall his phone number or his address.

He was interviewed some days later and told gardai he was “appalled and mortified by my actions” when he was informed about what had happened.

Gda Eccles agreed with Remy Farrell SC, defending, that his client had been attending counselling for “anger issues” before the attack.

He told gardai during interview that his anger did not always lead to aggression and he had never done anything like this before.

Mr Farrell said his client was unable to explain his actions on the night and appears to be someone who has never engaged in this type of behaviour but accepted that he has “unpleasant characteristics” when under the influence of alcohol.

He said he left school at an early age and trained as a chef.

Irish Independent

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