A 20-year-old Dundalk old man thought he was going to die when he was subjected to what Judge Michael O'Shea branded as a 'vicious, violent, savage and brutal attack'.
His attacker, John Smith, a 26-year-old father of two, of 94 Doolargy Avenue, Muirhevnmor, who has 64 previous convictions, pleaded guilty to assault in a house at Glenmore Park on May 31st 17, He was sentenced to four and a half years in jail, backdated to June 19th, 2017, with the last 12 months suspended.
The court heard how the victim had gone to a friend's house in Glenmore Park, Muirhevnamor, on the afternoon of May 31st 2017. Half an hour later, Smith, whom he knew, came in, sat down and began drinking beer.
Another person came in, and Smith then made a threatening gesture towards the victim, producing a large kitchen knife from his track suit bottoms.
The injured party became very alarmed and stood up, thinking he would go out the back door, but a female who was present, asked Smith not to use the knife. He put it away, but at her suggestion, punched his victim a number of times and kicked him as he lay on the ground. He then hit him with plates and cups which he had picked up from the sink.
The victim saw the accused pick up the knife and pleaded with him not to use it, but Smith proceeded to try to stab him in the chest. The injured party managed to block him using his legs and arms, but received stab wounds to his leg and arms. As Smith attempted to stab him in the thigh, the knife broke on something, and he then picked up a lamp from a table and struck the injured party with it. He went onto hit him with a small wooden stool and a lump hammer, shouting at him to move his legs which he was unable to do. He then threw the lump hammer at him, picked it up and threw it at him again and again, before stabbing him in the neck with a piece of glass.
The victim's phone had fallen out of his pocket and Smith picked it up, saying 'thanks for the new phone', before leaving the house through the back door with the female.
He had feared for his life as he thought he was going to be killed, investigating Gda McElroy, told the court. He said the injured party had dragged himself up and struggled to his own house, where he was met by his mother. The victim was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and his injuries included two fractured wrists, stab wounds to his legs and arms, cuts and bruises to his face, and he was unable to walk on one leg due to the pain.
The accused had previously been in a relationship with the injured party's sister.
In a victim impact statement which was read in court, he described how he had been trapped in a friends house and had feared for his life.
He was no longer able to train in the gym and every time he looks in the mirror, he is reminded by the countless scars on his body of what had happened.
He can't sleep properly at night and still gets flashbacks. He reckoned he will need counselling for a long time as he can't see a bright future for himself.
As Smith had said he was going to kill him and his family, and burn their house, they had installed CCTV and had considered moving.
'I can't understand why he did this to me,' he concluded his statement.
Garda McElroy said that Smith had denied being in Dundalk when arrested and had made facetious answers when questioned in relation to the incident.
Counsel for the accused conceded that the matter was 'very serious, very grave'.
Smith had a tragic background and the loss of his own father and a man who had been a figure in his life, had led to him becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol as he attempted to deal with his grief. He had two children.
Her client 'was not without intelligence' even though he had left school at 12 and had done his Junior Cert while in custody and now wants to get his Leaving Cert and use his time wisely. He had become institutionalised and found it difficult to cope without structure in his life.
He was deeply remorseful and had offered a guilty plea at an early opportunity spearing his victim the ordeal of coming to court.
Judge O'Shea described the incident as an 'unprovoked attack' in which a strong degree of violence was used and the injured party received very serious and significant injuries in addition to the psychological affect on him.'It was a horrendous continuous beating and assault,' he said.
Imposing sentence, he noted that Smith had 'a very difficult childhood' and was consuming alcohol at 11 years of age, and proceeded cannabis and prescription drugs and at 13 was smoking heroin.