Sunday 20 January 2019

'I do so many tablets, I couldn't tell you what I did an hour ago' - man who assaulted two strangers jailed

Judge described Gavin Mulgrew as a 'different person today'

Courts of Criminal Justice
Courts of Criminal Justice

Jessica Magee

A man who carried out two separate, random assaults on strangers in the street on the same day has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail, with the final two-and-a-half years suspended.

A judge described both attacks as “horrific, gratuitous, violent and unprovoked” but said that perpetrator Gavin Mulgrew (23) was a “different person today” to the person who carried out the “horrendous” offences.

Mulgrew pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting David Rooney causing him harm on Suffolk Street on July 9, 2015, as Mr Rooney was walking home from work.

Mulgrew, of Old Brazil Way, Knocksedan, Swords, further admitted to assaulting Yannick Said, a French national, as he returned home from a language class that evening at Chancery Place in Dublin.

Mulgrew told gardaí that his memory of both events was “hazy” as he had been high on tablets, but he identified himself on CCTV footage and was described by a prosecuting garda as being “visibly shaken and genuinely remorseful”.

“I do so many tablets, I couldn't tell you what I did an hour ago,” Mulgrew said to gardaí on arrest.

Judge Karen O'Connor told Mulgrew that he had made good progress in custody but that “time would tell” whether she was correct in her analysis that he was a different person today.

“I know you were shocked and ashamed when you saw the CCTV footage of yourself, and rightly so,” said Judge O'Connor, warning Mulgrew that it would not be easy for him coming out of prison.

“Some serious work is going to be required of you, but I hope that this is something that will be in your past,” she said.

Garda Gary Woods told Dean Kelly BL, prosecuting, that David Rooney was walking home from work along Suffolk Street when Mulgrew punched him in the face with a closed fist and then walked off.

Mr Rooney was in total shock and said it seemed to him that Mulgrew just “walked off casually”.

Mr Rooney was hospitalised for five days with a fractured cheekbone, got nine stitches and underwent surgery. He had a permanent metal plate inserted into his cheekbone and suffered scarring and extremely bad bruising.

In a victim impact report, Mr Rooney said he suffered a financial loss of €1,700 and also had lost his confidence. He said he had had to stop playing contact sports, that he now avoided going into the city centre and was fearful that such an unprovoked attack could happen again.

A second prosecuting garda told the court that within an hour of the first attack, Mulgrew assaulted a French national on Chancery Place.

Mr Said, who had been in Ireland for a month studying English, was returning home when he saw a group of five or more youths approaching him.

He told gardaí it was “such a shock” when one of the group punched him out of the blue, and then all of a sudden, the group was all around him punching and kicking him.

Mr Said said his head banged off a car and he couldn't see properly or do anything as he was in shock, but that ultimately the youths just ran away and he asked some passersby for help.

He was hospitalised with a dislocated shoulder, facial injuries and a broken nose. His shoulder has dislocated again three times since the assault.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Said said “the only efficient medicine is time” and said he left Ireland the following month, returning first to his home in France and then moving to Australia.

He said he required ongoing treatment for his shoulder and had an “increased awareness” when out in public. Mr Said had medical bills of over €1,000.

Mulgrew has 34 previous offences including assault, theft, burglary, criminal damage, handling stolen property, unlawful possession of drugs and intoxication in a public place.

The prosecuting garda agreed with Eoghan Cole BL, defending, that Mulgrew was “visibly shaken” and genuinely remorseful when he was shown CCTV footage of the attack on Mr Said.

Mr Cole said that since going into custody in July 2015, Mulgrew had done “everything the court would wish” in terms of his own rehabilitation.

The court heard that Mulgrew has become drug-free, has dealt with his addiction and works in the prison kitchen on an enhanced regime.

A probation report said Mulgrew had a good level of victim awareness and knew he had been associating with the wrong people.

The court heard Mulgrew had certain mental health difficulties, had been diagnosed with ADHD and was on medication.

“While his offences are horrendous, he is a different person now,” said Judge O'Connor.

She suspended the final two and a half years of the sentence on condition that Mulgrew engage in victim-focused work, attend addiction counselling and all appointments made by Probation Services.

The three-and-a-half year sentence was backdated to October 10, 2017.

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