A Kerry man who ambushed a woman during an attempted robbery in a Dublin park was caught and handed over to gardaí by three passers-by, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard.
Damien Fleming (28) grabbed the woman from behind but fled when she managed to get free.
Gardaí later found a carpet knife in his pocket but the court heard this was not produced during the incident.
He later told gardaí that he was in the middle of a drinking binge and that he was trying to get money from the woman but that he then changed his mind.
Judge Martin Nolan imposed a suspended sentence of three years and ordered Fleming to pay over €8,000 to the victim. He said that if the victim rejects the compensation he will decide where it goes.
Fleming of Kilcummin, Killarney but now living in Cork, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery at Herbert Park in Ballsbridge on November 4, 2013. He has three previous convictions for assault and public order.
Garda Dermot Crowley told the court that the victim was walking her dog through the park when she noticed Fleming walking very close behind her.
Fleming then reached around her and put his hand over her mouth with a hard slap. The woman began to struggle and managed to get free before Fleming ran away through the park.
The victim shouted for help and called gardaí on her phone. A nearby man chased Fleming out of the park. A cyclist and an elderly man saw the chase and blocked Fleming’s way before holding him until gardaí arrived.
As Fleming exited the patrol car at the station a carpet knife fell out of his pocket but this was not produced during the attempted robbery.
Fleming told gardaí he was an alcoholic and that he suffers from depression. He said he had spent hundreds of euro on alcohol that weekend and wanted to get money from the victim. He said he made the decision to stop the robbery because he knew it was wrong.
He told gardaí: “I was never going to hurt anyone in any way, no way like.”
His defence counsel David Wheelahan BL said Fleming, who works as a fitter, has already offered compensation to the victim put she rejected it.
Counsel said he has a good work history and is now alcohol free after undergoing a residential treatment course.