Sunday 21 January 2018

Gardai shocked by rise in drug-fuelled 'psycho' attacks

Gardai reveal psychotic violence springing from head-shop high 'bubble' is now a nightly occurrence, writes Jim Cusack

THIS is the grim and terrifying reality of the psychotic violence that gardai say is springing from the use of internet-bought drugs and which they are encountering on a nightly basis.

Karl Kane, 20, was stabbed four times and his friend, Luke Phoenix, also 20, was stabbed twice. The young men were walking two girls to a bus stop in Ballybrack, Co Dublin, when they were set upon by a mob which had spilled out of a raucous house party.

Karl saw his friend fall and was walking towards him when he too was stabbed -- twice in the chest, one wound punctured his lung, and twice in the side, hitting his kidney. Luke was stabbed in the groin and kidney.

Karl, who has no criminal record or connections, said he had no idea what was happening at first and thought he had been punched.

He fell to the ground and almost bled to death as the first ambulance called to the scene was unable to help and another with paramedics had to be called.

He was eventually stabilised and taken to St Vincent's Hospital where he underwent almost five hours of surgery. Released last week, he is making a slow recovery and has lost more than two stones in weight. He is still in severe pain and has difficulty walking.

His friend is making a better recovery, but was also lucky not to have died.

The gardai have questioned a 16-year-old youth from a well-to-do part of the south Dublin suburbs about the attack on Saturday, February 19.

There were several witnesses. Karl's family were told as many as 40 young people spilled out of the house before the attack took place. No charges have been brought against anyone.

It is known that young people at the party had been taking the drug known as 'bubble', yet another variant of the head-shop drug mephedrone.

Luke's mother, Jane, said yesterday: "Karl and his friend were walking these two girls to the bus. He said he had no idea what happened. He saw Luke fall over and was walking towards him when he felt someone punch him.

"I had been in hospital just before that with my kidneys. I didn't know what was happening. I was curled up in pain myself at the time. I phoned my sister Michelle. I didn't know it was that bad.

"She told me that Karl was on a lot of machines. I was devastated. I said I can't accept this, I can't believe it. It was when she told me that Karl might not make it.

"My son has never been in trouble in his life. I know my Karl and I would be the first one to put my hand up if he was the type of young fellow that would do that."

She said her son had learning difficulties and was currently on disability allowance and unable to find work. She said he was frightened and depressed and she was very concerned that he would have difficulties giving evidence under cross examination in a criminal trial.

She added that he still felt too nervous to give a statement to gardai.

Local people said, however, that the identity of the attacker was well known and it was also known he was among a group that were drug-users.

Gardai say that they are encountering this type of episode on a routine basis. In recent years there had been several fatalities involving young men on drugs stabbing people while in psychotic states from taking drugs like cocaine and mephedrone.

Sunday Independent

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