Wednesday 20 June 2018

Teen (16) 'feared he was going to die' in 'Love/Hate-like' torture ordeal by man obsessed with his girlfriend

  • Harry Andrews - aged 18 at time of attack - sentenced to eight years in prison
  • Teen 'thought he was going to die' during attack in Andrews' father's home
  • Teen was handcuffed, hit with a hatchet, had his throat cut, had a plastic bag put over his head, had tissues stuffed in his mouth during ordeal
  • Gardaí praised for noticing victim's hand pressed against bathroom window from outside house
  • Court hears gardaí describe 'blood everywhere' in the house
  • Graphic details in the court case below
Harry Andrews sentenced to eight years in prison, with the final two suspended
Harry Andrews' father Michael arriving at Sligo Courthouse
Sligo Courthouse.

Paul Deering

A 16-year-old boy feared he was going to die after being attacked at the home of a 19-year-old man, a tortuous ordeal that went on for an hour an a half, Sligo Circuit Court was told.

The boy was handcuffed, hit with a hatchet on the head, had his throat cut with a Stanley knife, was stabbed, had a plastic bag put over his head in a bid to suffocate him and had tissues shoved in his mouth.

The boy, who was eventually released after alert Gardaí saw his despairing hand resting on the frosted glass of a bathroom window where much of the ordeal was taking place pushed their way into the house.

They had initially been told that there was no one else in the house by the perpetrator's elderly father.

He was sitting downstairs as his then 18-year-old son tortured the 16-year-old boy in what Judge Keenan Johnson said was like a scene from the TV drama, Love/Hate.

The boy told Gardaí that he had to keep fighting off his attacker, Harry Andrews whom he felt "just got tired trying to kill him after an hour and a half".

Several times Andrews went to slit the boy's throat telling him at one stage "I'm going to go for the jugular."

Judge Johnson described the incident as horrific and a savage and vicious attack.

Harry Andrews sentenced to eight years in prison, with the final two suspended
Harry Andrews sentenced to eight years in prison, with the final two suspended

Andrews claimed he was owed drug money by the boy but the latter stated the defendant was obsessed with his girlfriend and this was the reason which lay behind the savage attack.

When Gardaí entered the house and rescued the boy they described blood being everywhere.

Andrews of 57 Glendallon, Ballytivnan pleaded guilty to the false imprisonment of the 16-year-old boy at the home of his father, Michael on April 23rd 2017. He was represented by Mr Michael Bowman SC instructed by Mr Tom MacSharry, solicitor.

Andrews also admitted assault causing harm of the victim, making threats to kill him or cause him serious harm and the production of a hatchet, Stanley blade and a kitchen knife during the incident.

In a letter of apology for his victim, Andrews admitted that his actions had made him "feel sick to my stomach."

"I hope you can carry on with your life and forget about what I have done," he stated in the letter which was read to the court.

Harry Andrews' father Michael arriving at Sligo Courthouse
Harry Andrews' father Michael arriving at Sligo Courthouse

Andrews' 74-year-old father, Michael, pleaded guilty to impeding the arrest of his son knowing he had committed an arrestable offence.

His case was adjourned for sentencing to May 29th and a probation report was ordered. There was no objection to his being released on bail.

He was represented by Mr Colm Smyth SC instructed by Ms Laura Spellman, solicitor.

Ms Dara Foynes BL with State Solicitor Ms Elisa McHugh (prosecuting) told the court that the victim and Harry Andrews were known to each other.

The victim was going out with a girl for a few months and he felt Andrews was obsessed with her.

Andrews had been in town with the couple and after dropping his girlfriend to the bus station the victim had walked back with Harry Andrews to his house around 7.50pm after the latter had asked him for help with the moving of a washing machine.

The victim told Gardaí that Andrews didn't like him because of his relationship with the girl.

Ordeal

When they got to the house, the 16-year-old was told to sit on the couch. Andrews then produced a kitchen knife and stabbed the victim in his back on the left side.

He had seen the knife coming towards him and kept trying to block it. Andrews began making accusations and then produced a Stanley knife .

Andrews got on top of him and kept trying to slit his throat with the blade.

"He wasn't saying anything to me at this stage. I believed he was just trying to kill me. This was going on for a few minutes until I managed to push him off. I stood up and so did he.

"He then picked up a hatchet and then started swinging it at me and connected a few times. He hit me across the head a few times and I think he got me on my back too.

"I couldn't really do anything to protect myself as I was only after standing up from the couch when he came at me with the hatchet," said the victim.

He said he was dazed and that there "was blood everywhere." He was then punched a few times into the face by Andrews.

"Somehow, I don't know where he got them but Harry put handcuffs on me," said the victim.

He was told he was being brought somewhere to talk to someone. Andrews put the victim's hood up over his head because there was blood running down his face and back of his next and placed a jumper over his hands so no one would see the handcuffs.

Andrews brought the victim outside and on to a green area. Andrews saw a group of men he didn't get on with so turned back. The victim said he was constantly being threatened and constantly feared being killed.

They returned to the house and he was brought to the bathroom where the handcuffs were taken off. Andrews told him to wash himself. Andrews had locked the bathroom door.

"Harry grabbed me from behind and pulled my head back leaving my neck exposed. He then got the Stanley knife and tried slitting my neck. I grabbed him just before he could do it and got him away. He then started punching me and swinging the knife at me. He had me pinned in the corner and kept shouting at me that he was planning this for a long time."

Eventually, Andrews managed to "slice his neck with the Stanley blade."

The victim said he kept blocking him and protecting his neck with his hands.

"He then started focusing on my wrists and tried to slit them. I was in fear for my life," he said.

He added: "Eventually, I think he got tired and he had a smoke. He gave me one too. This was after about an hour and a half of trying to kill me by trying to slit my throat."

Andrews was on his phone and he recalled him asking someone for duck tape and black bags as "he had a body on the floor."

The victim's girlfriend rang Andrews wondering if he was there but he said he wasn't. Andrews told his victim that "it's not looking good for you."

Andrews tried once more to slit his throat.

"I wouldn't let him so then he hit me in the face. He then grabbed a load of tissue and shoved it into my mouth and put his two hands over his mouth and nose trying to smother him.

"He was trying to suffocate me for what seemed like a minute until I eventually moved his hands up my face a bit which allowed me to start breathing again.

"He must have felt me breathing because he let go and pushed me forward. I started spitting all the tissue out and Harry left the bathroom.

"I went to stand up and when I did, Harry came back in and put a shopping bag over my head and closed it. I had lost a lot of blood and was feeling very weak.

"When he put it over my head he pulled it back and tried to suffocate me again. He was clearly trying to kill me. I managed to find a hole in the bag and I was able to break through this," said the victim.

Andrews then took the bag off and tried to go at him again with the Stanley knife. He stated he had a gun buried in the back garden and that he would bring it in and put three bullets in his head.

Shortly after this there was a knock at the door. "I thought it was my step dad. Harry told me to be quiet and not to make any noise. Michael Andrews went out to him and said that I wasn't there. When the front door closed Harry went out into the sitting room.

"Another knock came to the door. This time it was the Gardaí. I tried to put my hand on the window in the hope that someone would see. There was a knock on the window from the outside. Harry came in and told me to jump in the shower. He told me to say that if asked I was to say I got jumped by Travellers.

"The guards came in the front door. Harry went back out of the bathroom before the guards came in and sat in the sitting room. The guards then came in and found me in the bathroom," said the victim.

The victim also stated that during his ordeal Andrews had also poured liquid over his head which he believed was Jeyes Fluid.

Garda Eamon McDonnell told the court he had arrived at the house following a call at around 9pm that a man was being held against his will there.

Michael Andrews answered the door and said there was no one else there only him and his dog. He then closed the door.

There were no sounds from inside and everything appeared normal. As witness left with Garda Kieran Staed and Garda Ciara McMullin, the latter saw the palm of a hand being placed flat against the bathroom window to the right of the front door.

She went to the window and shouted out that Gardaí were present and could they open the window or get out. There was no response and the hand slipped down the glass.

The Gardaí returned again to the door and once more Michael Andrews said there was no one inside. They then pushed past him into the house.

Garda McDonnell said the 16-year-old boy was covered in blood and he was disorientated and in shock. There was a big gash on top of his head and he had a number of cuts to his neck and hands. Harry Andrews and his father Michael were arrested. On April 24th at 10.11am, Harry Andrews was interviewed by Gardaí.

Andrews said he had gone to town to “get a few tablets.” He also smoked some heroin.

He didn’t remember much after this.

He recalled being at the bus station around 7pm and going home with a young fellow. He smoked a “joint of weed.”

“I don’t really remember much after that, my head was blown,” he told Gardaí. It was put to him that it was convenient he didn’t remember the two hours in the house.

“Nothing, I can’t remember. Ye don’t understand how drugs work,” Andrews replied.

In a second interview at 1.30pm Andrews claimed the victim owed him €800 for two ounces “of grass.”

He also stated that the victim was free to go after he had finished talking to him. It was a lie he claimed that he had put tissues in his mouth or a bag over his head.

He admitted that he may have cut his victim across his back with the Stanley knife.

It was put to Andrews that he had inflicted 90 minutes of torture on his victim in a planned attack and he replied that he honestly didn’t know what happened, that he had been on a concoction of drugs, coke, speed, heroin and cannabis.

Garda McDonnell read the victim’s impact statement to the court in which he said he thought he wasn’t going to get out of the house alive. He had been left scarred both physically and emotionally. He had a scar around his throat which was difficult to cover up.

It was something you’d see on a television horror show, he said and that his family were left traumatised by what happened.

In reply to Mr Bowman, Garda McDonnell agreed that from the beginning the defendant had taken responsibility and that he had been drinking and taking drugs from as early as 3pm on the day of the incident.

Andrews, the second youngest of six boys, has been in custody since the date of his arrest.

Mr Bowman said there could be no justification for what the defendant did.

He said the nine months in custody had proved to be a positive environment for the defendant who was now drug free.

A letter of apology from Andrews was read to the court by Mr Bowman.

Andrews said he wrote the letter so he can show remorse for what he did.

He had only looked at the book of evidence once and when he read it he could not believe what he had done.

“I was out of my head on drugs,” he said.

“I make no excuse for my actions but after finding out the extent of my actions I have started seeing an addiction counsellor and I am now drug free,” he said.

He vowed to never cause his victim or their family or anyone else harm again.

“I know I am going to jil today for a very long time and this is the only chance I will have to apologise,” he added.

He hoped his victim would one day be able to forgive him and wished that he could go back and change what he had done.

Judge Johnson said the offences were horrific, like something out of the television show, Love/Hate.

The Judge said the victim impact statement was extremely understated given what he had endured over an hour and a half.

The slash wound to the victim’s neck was quite horrific. While he accepted that in medical terms the injuries were described as superficial they were nevertheless significant including one also to the top of his head.

It was a savage and vicious attack the reason for which appeared to be a drug debt and his fascination with the victim’s girlfriend.

The victim was very fortunate that his girlfriend had rang the Gardaí having become concerned for his welfare, said the Judge who commended Garda McMullin for her “eagle eye” in spotting the victim’s hand on the bathroom window.

“One shudders to think what would have happened had the Gardaí not acted so diligently and swiftly,” he said.

There seemed to be a level of premeditation with handcuffs, hatchet and knives freely available.

The level of violence used and the time it lasted were also aggravating factors.

It was clear said the Judge that the victim suffered an horrific experience and was still emotionally scarred from it. It would take him years to recuperate.

He jailed Andrews for eight years on the false imprisonment charge, suspending the final two years on condition he keep the peace for five years post release.

He must also undergo probation service supervision for two years after his release and remain drug and alcohol free for the entirety of the suspended part of the sentence and not make any contact with his victim.

The sentence was backdated to when the defendant went into custody on April 24th last year.

The Judge wished the victim, who was in court, well and expressed the hope he would get some closure.

Andrews also received a one year concurrent jail term on a violent disorder charge which related to an incident involving others at O’Connell Street violent disorder on October 14th 2014.

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