Wednesday 20 February 2019

Man attacked terrified party guest with sword after mixing alcohol and medication

Conor Gallagher

A PATRY host who terrified his guests by waving a sword around and pushing a woman through a glass door has been given a suspended sentence.

Christopher Rankin (38) had just finished a bottle of vodka and retired for the night when he reappeared with the weapon. He attacked one of his female guests with the sword before pushing her through the door.

The woman has since forgiven Rankin and was in court to support him. Rankin’s defence counsel said his behaviour was a result of mixing the alcohol and the anti-depressant medication, Seroxat.

Judge Martin Nolan accepted this and said he believed the incident was a “one-off” and out of character for Rankin. He imposed a two and a half year term which he suspended in full.

Rankin of Rathdrum Road, Crumlin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Sharon Whelan and production of a weapon at his home on August 28, 2010.

Garda Mark Nolan told prosecuting counsel Kerida Naidoo BL that Ms Whelan went to a party in Rankin’s home. At 3am they ran out of alcohol and Rankin left, returning shortly after with a bottle of vodka. He drank most of the bottle himself before saying he was going to bed.

A short time later he re-entered the living room swinging a blunt-edged sword. Witnesses said he was acting like a “lunatic” and swinging the blade around randomly. He attacked Ms Whelan and hit her repeatedly with the sword, inflicting several cuts and bruises.

As guests were trying to retrain him, Rankin pushed Ms Whelan through the glass door causing more cuts to her arms. Gda Nolan quickly arrived on the scene and wrestled the sword away from Rankin, who was covered in blood from cutting himself on the glass.

Gardai pepper sprayed him before bringing him to hospital. Several of the gardai also had to go to hospital because of their contact with the blood.

Gda Nolan said Ms Whelan refused to fill out a victim impact report and is again friends with Rankin.

Defence counsel Shane Costelloe BL said Rankin was acting normally up until the incident. He said he was taking Seroxat and that there is evidence that this can have violent effects when combined with alcohol.

Mr Costelloe asked Judge Nolan to impose a suspended sentence on Rankin. He said this would keep him out of trouble by “leaving a large sword of Damocles hanging over him.”

“Excuse the pun,” counsel added.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News