Friday 23 February 2018

'Savage' biker headbutted hero cyclist in front of his daughter

Thomas O'Doherty, from Ennistymon, was jailed for the attack on the cyclist
Thomas O'Doherty, from Ennistymon, was jailed for the attack on the cyclist

Gordon Deegan

A judge jailed a biker for perpetrating an "appalling, savage, brutal and cowardly" roadside assault on a cyclist in front of screaming school children.

The assault by Thomas O'Doherty (36) of Gurrane, Ennistymon, Co Clare, left Sylvie Mullins with a battered face.

O'Doherty headbutted Mr Mullins with his motorcycle helmet still on at Corkscrew Hill near Ballyvaughan in the Burren on June 12, 2015.

Mr Mullins is a member of the Burren Cycling Club and was one of three adults escorting six 11-year-old school children, including his own daughter, up the steep climb when he was assaulted by O'Doherty at 2.45pm, Ennis District Court heard.

Jailing O'Doherty for six months and banning him from driving for two years, Judge Patrick Durcan said: "This is the worst assault case that I have dealt with since my time as a judge."

O'Doherty was later freed on bail after appealing the prison term to the Circuit Court.

In his comments, Judge Durcan described O'Doherty "as nothing more than a blaggard and a coward".

Judge Durcan described Mr Mullins as a "hero" who volunteers in the community for others and guides children along the road safely. "The thanks he received for that is a vicious headbutt that left him seriously injured," Judge Durcan said.

Gda Insp Tom Kennedy said the assault by O'Doherty left Mr Mullins "with a burst nose and the loss of a top front tooth" and he had to pay out €2,900 for dental work.

Judge Durcan said that having committed "the appalling, brutal and cowardly act", O'Doherty then compounded this by driving away leaving Mr Mullins with his "battered face and damaged tooth".

Judge Durcan said O'Doherty's "behaviour is criminal in the extreme, savage in its manner and brutal in its execution".

Insp Kennedy said that the roadside assault left the children crying and extremely upset. In evidence, Mr Mullins said: "It was the kids I was more concerned about and one of them was my daughter."

O'Doherty pleaded guilty to the assault causing harm of Mr Mullins. Solicitor for O'Doherty, Tara Godfrey, said her client unreservedly apologises to him and the children. In reply, Mr Mullins said: "I wish he came the following day to apologise to the kids at the school."

Insp Kennedy said Mr Mullins was at the back of the cycling group waving cars on as they slowly ascended Corkscrew Hill. Insp Kennedy said O'Doherty stopped to verbally abuse Mr Mullins and was very aggressive and abusive.

He said O'Doherty told Mr Mullins: "If I get off the bike, I will kick the sh*t out of you around the road."

Ms Godfrey said that with Mr Mullins waving his hand, O'Doherty had to take evasive action and had to veer to the opposite lane.

She said: "He got a fright and feels huge shame for what took place. He has no previous convictions."

Ms Godfrey handed into court €3,000 from carpenter O'Doherty to compensate Mr Mullins for the dental work.

She said O'Doherty also had €1,000 in court for the children and wanted to take part in a fundraiser for disadvantaged kids.

Irish Independent

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