Monday 22 January 2018

Teen knocked woman off bike in vicious attack

Rehab: Joseph O'Toole pleaded guilty to robbery
Rehab: Joseph O'Toole pleaded guilty to robbery

Jessica Magee

A Dublin teenager who knocked a woman off her bike, beat her up and stole her groceries said he was so drunk and stoned he had “no idea” what he was doing.

Joseph O'Toole (19) is to be sentenced later at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to give him time to complete an alcohol rehabilitation programme.

The court heard O'Toole and a co-accused beat up and robbed the woman only half-an-hour after they had attacked and robbed a man in his late 60s on the same stretch of road.

O'Toole, with an address at The Nurseries, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15, pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery on Church Road on October 19, 2012.

Gda Alan Gordon told Martina Baxter BL, prosecuting, that he had been patrolling Church Road with a colleague on the night in question when they came upon the second attack.

The guards saw a man in a white T-shirt coming out from behind the grotto of a holy well kicking and punching a woman and dragging her along the ground by her rucksack.

As they approached, the culprit and a second man close by took off running and were chased by the officers.

O'Toole hid behind a wall and tried to flee several times before he was eventually arrested after a violent struggle.

He was taken to Blanchards-town garda station where his aggressive behaviour continued and he spat in a guard's face and at another garda's chest.

The victim, Isabella Szyrajew, told gardai that she had been cycling along Church Road with several shopping bags on the handlebars of her bike when two men approached who appeared to be in good spirits.

One of them stopped her from cycling and said “What's in your bag?” before grabbing the bike and throwing her to the ground.

She was kicked in the face, head, stomach and back about six times and dragged along the ground by her rucksack before a female passer-by stopped to help her.

Ms Szyrajew's shopping bag containing about €50 worth of groceries was taken.

She said one of her attackers seemed to be stoned and was in his late teens with short black hair and “wild eyes”.

This man was later identified as O'Toole.

Half-an-hour before this attack, Fred Mulligan had been walking along Church Road when two men approached, one holding a bicycle.

Mr Mulligan said the men stopped short of him and the bike seemed to fall, but they picked it up and walked past him.

He said the next thing he knew was he felt a bang on his head like he had been hit by the bicycle and he was knocked to the ground.

The men started kicking him and shouting “Give me your money”, so he gave them €100 which he had in his pocket to pay for insurance the following day.

They demanded more, but he told them, “Lads, I've no more”, and when the assailants fled he rang his son who took him to hospital.

O'Toole initially denied both attacks and said he would not hit a woman.

He eventually confessed and apologised to Ms Szyrajew.

“I had no idea what I was doing, I was that drunk. My intention was to rob them,” he said, and added that he had been smoking hash.

O'Toole denied hitting Mr Mulligan or asking him for money during the earlier attack, saying he only threatened him.

The court heard that O'Toole has eight previous convictions, including criminal damage, theft and road traffic offences.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring adjourned the matter to see if O'Toole can complete a residential course at Coolmine Rehabilitation Centre.

The case was listed for mention on July 30.

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