Teen jailed for 'vile, barbaric and cowardly assault' on St Patrick's Day volunteers
A teenager who attacked two St Patrick's Day volunteers and took running kicks at their heads as they lay unconscious has been jailed for the “vile, barbaric and cowardly assault”.
Judge Brian O'Callaghan said Niall Brooks (19) “left his victims for dead” after he and another teenager took part in the unprovoked assault at the Luas station in Tallaght last year.
“What you committed was nothing short of a vile, barbaric and cowardly assault on two absolutely innocent people,” Judge O'Callaghan told Brooks today at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, as he sentenced him to three years' imprisonment with the final six months suspended.
“There was nothing done or said by these innocent people which warranted you even looking at them crooked, never mind what you did to them.”
The attacks left the victims with extensive injuries, including skull fractures, broken eye sockets and broken cheek bones.
Brooks, of The Rise, Kiltipper Gate, Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty to two counts of assault causing harm to Brendan Cahill and Derek McDonald at the Luas terminal on Belgard Square East on March 17, 2015.
Earlier this month, Brooks' co-accused, Dean McKeever (19) of no fixed abode, was jailed for three years for his part in the St Patrick's Day assault. He received a further sentence of three years with the final 12 months suspended for another assault on a later date.
Garda Fran Glennon previously told the court that CCTV footage from a Luas train showed a scuffle breaking out between the attackers, then juveniles, and the victims, after an exchange of words.
This spilled out onto the Luas terminal where the two victims fell to the ground. The youths then repeatedly kicked the men in the head and body.
The victims were not moving and may have been unconscious when Brooks took a running kick at each one and kicked them both in the head, Gda Glennon said.
In victim impact statements opened to the court Mr McDonald said he had gone from being a happy and carefree person to seeing everyone as a potential threat. He needed medication to help him sleep and found it hard to get up in the morning.
He estimated an economic loss of €11,000 because of missing out on job placements and said he had a lot of bottled up anger.
Mr Cahill said he had not slept right one night since the assault. He had gone from being an easy-going person to having zero confidence.
He suffered panic attacks and his wife had to answer his phone because of his anxiety levels. The panic also meant that he couldn't pick up his children from school in the evening.
He estimated an economic loss of €15,700, which included lost earnings as a carpenter and an iPhone lost during the attack.
The two victims had been volunteering at the Tallaght St Patrick's Day parade earlier and were getting the Luas that evening. Gda Glennon told Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting, neither man had any memory of the assault and their last memory was some shouting on the train.
Mr McDonald had to have a titanium plate inserted above his broken eye socket. A large plate was needed to reconstruct his cheek bone. His teeth were chipped during the attack and his eyesight was left ten per cent weaker.
The attack left Mr Cahill with a fractured skull and bruising to his face and back. He was left with very bad back pain and sciatica and continued to suffer migraines.
Brooks has three previous convictions and is currently serving a sentence for a robbery committed on July 29, 2014.
In a letter to the victims Brooks said: “No words can describe how sorry and ashamed I am. It went too far. I lost control on that date. I was on drugs and on alcohol. I had no control over my life but that’s no excuse”.
George Burns BL, defending, said his client was exposed to domestic violence and alcohol abuse in his childhood. He said he was engaging with education and art programmes while in custody.