Friday 20 September 2019

Man allegedly assaulted stepson and threatened to slit his throat 'in a row over keeping the garden tidy'

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

Isabel Hayes

A man assaulted his adult stepson and threatened to slit his throat in a row over keeping the garden tidy, a Dublin court has heard.

David McDermott initially denied punching and kicking his stepson, but his victim, Daniel Conlon, had recorded most of the incident on his phone, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard today.

McDermott (42) with an address in Saul Avenue, Crumlin, Dublin pleaded guilty to one count of assault causing harm to Mr Conlon at Summerville Avenue, Walkinstown, on June 23 last year.

Detective Garda Eamon Moloney told Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, that Mr Conlon (22) was living in his late grandmother's house, which had been left to him and his mother.

McDermott, who has a history of alcoholism, had issues with Mr Conlon living in the house, the court heard.

On the night in question, he “forcibly entered” the house after several drinks, Det Gda Moloney said. When Mr Conlon told him he didn't want any trouble, McDermott punched him in the eye.

As Mr Conlon lay in the foetal position, McDermott gave out about the state of the garden, which he said was a “jungle”. He also told Mr Conlon the house wasn't his and he couldn't live there rent-free.

He then punched him between five and 10 times to the head. When Mr Conlon told McDermott he didn't respect him as a father, McDermott kicked him in the torso and threatened to slit his throat, the court heard.

“Mr Conlon was in real fear of what was going to happen,” Det Gda Moloney said. McDermott left the house after an estimated 30 minutes.

Mr Conlon secretly recorded audio of the incident on his phone, which he passed on to gardaí the next day.

When interviewed by gardaí, McDermott initially denied assaulting Mr Conlon and said he simply exhorted him to get a job. He denied threatening to kill him and said he loved him like a son.

“I reared him from the age of six. I love him,” he told gardaí.

When confronted with the audio evidence of the assault, McDermott said he didn't remember it. He told gardaí he had drunk a naggin of vodka and several pints before calling to the house.

He agreed his stepson sounded “very frightened” in the audio clips and he said he shouldn't have scared him like that.

A victim impact statement was handed up in court but not read out.

McDermott has no previous convictions.

Defence barrister, Luigi Rea BL, said his client was still in a relationship with Mr Conlon's mother. They have four children together.

He said there had been no more “adverse interactions” between the pair since the assault and both men had agreed to stay away from each other.

Mr Rea said his client was badly injured in a house fire when he was a baby and spent a total of 14 years in hospital receiving treatment for massive burns. He recently lost a lung as a result of those injuries he sustained as an infant.

He has worked as a butcher and more recently for a security firm.

Judge Martina Baxter noted it was a “serious assault” by McDermott who had a “parental role” in Mr Conlon's life. She adjourned the matter for sentencing on July 30.

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