Face of man who stabbed boy (15) over €250 drug debt
A Dublin man who stabbed a 15-year-old boy in Kildare, leaving him with life-threatening injuries because the teenager had failed to pay a drug debt, has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
Aaron Byrne (22) had been trying to get the remaining €250, for an amount of cannabis, and had previously called at the victim's home demanding the cash.
The day before the stabbing, he met the boy at a service station where €100 was handed over.
The following day, he arranged, through the victim's friend, to meet the teenager at a housing estate in Naas, Co Kildare, before a row broke out between the two.
Byrne took out a knife and stabbed the teenager under the rib cage, penetrating his chest wall and left lung.
Det Gda Liam Dolan told Fiona Murphy, prosecuting that a medical report concluded that the teenager had a major bleed and required an immediate life-saving operation to repair his chest wall and left lower lung.
It was confirmed that up to nearly two litres of blood and blood clots were removed from his chest.
He was discharged from hospital five days later, and an updated report stated his wounds had healed well and he had returned to school and sporting activities a few weeks after the stabbing.
Byrne, of Kilclare Crescent, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to the teenager in Naas on April 12 last year.
Judge Martin Nolan suspended the final three years of the eight-year term after accepting that Byrne is remorseful and appears "well capable of being reformed". He must be under the supervision of the Probation Service for 18 months following his release.
The judge said Byrne was intent on collecting the money for the cannabis he sold the teenager.
He said the fact that the assault initially arose out of criminal activity was an aggravating factor in the case.
"He totally over-reacted. He had a knife and stabbed him once. It must have been a forceful stab as it penetrated the chest wall and the lung," Judge Nolan said.
He added that the teenager could have died had it not been for the prompt medical attention he received, but acknowledged that he has since made a full recovery.
A victim impact report stated that the teenager's medical bills came to €370.
The boy said he felt that people looked at him differently after the attack and felt like a social outcast.
Byrne was arrested and made no admissions, telling officers he wasn't in the area at the time.
The knife was never recovered, but blood taken from the scene was analysed and found to match that of Byrne.
A trial date was fixed, but Byrne pleaded guilty in advance of the hearing date.