Sunday 17 February 2019

Man (54) cut hand and threatened social worker with 'the virus' from his blood

Stock picture
Stock picture

Fiona Ferguson

A 54-year-old man who cut his hand and threatened a social worker that he would get “the virus” from his blood has avoided a jail term.

Dubliner Joseph Mulraney was upset as he wished to bring his partner home from a hospice and believed the social worker had been encouraging her to stay in the institution, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told.

Mulraney, of Sundrive Road, Kimmage, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and threatening to spray blood at Our Ladies Hospice, Harolds Cross, Dublin on April 18, 2017. He has two minor previous convictions from the 1980s.

Garda Thomas Burke told Eoin Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that the social worker had a previously amicable relationship with Mulraney and had a number of sessions with him and his partner who was a patient at the hospice, suffering degenerative brain disease.

Gda Burke said as he started his shift the social worker picked up a voicemail message left by Mulraney saying he had a “bone to pick with him.” He later encountered a confrontational and aggressive Mulraney in the corridor and brought him to his office.

He attempted to calm Mulraney but he began accusing the social worker of putting ideas in his partner's head. Mulraney asked where the panic button was and kicked it off the wall.

Mulraney took out a razor blade, cut his hand and threatened to spit the blood. He told the man he would get “the virus” from it. The social worker stayed away from him as he began rubbing blood on various surfaces in the office, including the man's desk.

The man got out of the office past him and alerted security. Mulraney was arrested and interviewed. He told gardaí he had taken tablets and did not remember much. He agreed he had cut his hand and had been upset.

He believed the man had been telling his partner not to come home but to stay in the hospice. Mulraney said he was sorry and took full responsibility for what happened.

The garda agreed with Vincent Heneghan SC, defending, that Mulraney had no intention of stabbing the social worker. He agreed that Mulraney's accommodation at the time had not been suitable for his partner and that the social worker had been nothing but kind and decent to Mulraney.

Gda Burke agreed that Mulraney lived a rather “sad and pathetic” life which he mainly conducted in around 200 meters of his home. He did not expect him to come before the court again.

Mr Heneghan said Mulraney had snapped as he wanted to get his partner out of hospital. He said she was now living with him in new accommodation and Mulraney had written a letter of apology.

Judge Martin Nolan said Mulraney had been under some stress and decided to take it out on the social worker in “a fairly insidious and disgusting crime.”

He noted a victim impact statement handed into court which, he said, outlined that the social worker had been greatly affected by the crime. He noted Mulraney had pleaded guilty and was remorseful.

Judge Nolan imposed a three and a half year sentence which he suspended in full.

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