Sunday 18 March 2018

Man jailed for golf club attack on taxi driver

Without warning, the defendant, in a rage, attacked a man. It was a violent, vicious and horrific attack.

A 19-year-old man who attacked a taxi driver with a golf club, has been jailed for two years.

Lee Smith, 55 Beechwood Drive, Marleys Lane, Drogheda, pleaded guilty to four charges - assault causing harm, criminal damage, production of a golf club, and attempting to steal a taxi.

The circuit criminal court in Dundalk heard of an incident which occurred in Beechwood Drive, after a taxi was called to that location, on 1 November, 2016.

Smith ran from a house with a golf club, struck the driver, and damaged his taxi, before attempting to drive off in the vehicle, only to be prevented from doing so by his mother.

Garda Evan Connolly gave evidence that the victim saw a female standing with two suitcases outside No. 50.

When the driver got out to open the boot, he heard Smith and the girl shouting at each other.

He had a golf club in his hand, and when she said she was going, he smashed one of the car windows.

The accused struck the driver on the left hand with the club, and then punched the taxi man, who was wearing glasses, on the left eye.

Smith was in a rage, and the man feared he was going to kill him.

A woman beckoned the driver to a house, in order for him to get away, when he saw Smith jump into the driver's seat of the car which was still running.

Another woman, in night attire, whom he presumed to be Smith's mother, tried to stop him. She took the keys, which enraged the youth.

He jumped up on the bonnet, kicked the car windscreen and smashed it.

By the time gardaí arrived, he had fled the scene.

The taxi driver was taken by ambulance to the Lourdes hospital, arriving at 10.33pm.

In a victim impact statement, the man said he no longer works nights, or in Drogheda. He now operates in Dublin, a longer commute for him.

He is still on painkillers for his injuries.

Smith was arrested at 7.50am, on 20 February, 2017, and in a subsequent interview, exercised his right to silence.

He has 23 previous convictions, including for aggravated burglary and assault of gardaí.

It was stated on behalf of Smith that he had a drug problem since the age of 13, and serious anger issues.

He has taken positive steps to deal with the risk factors, and is engaging with the Red Door project in Drogheda.

Smith wrote a letter of apology, and a letter in support of him was read from the mother of his girlfriend.

He is in a two-year relationship, and lives with his girlfriend and her mother.

Judge Michael O'Shea said this case was very concerning, as a taxi driver was responding to a call. 'What any taxi driver would do.'

He added it was shocking behaviour, and completely unprovoked.

Without warning, the defendant, in a rage, attacked a man. It was a violent, vicious and horrific attack.

'Why would you want to come out of a house with a golf club?'

The judge said Smith ambushed the taxi driver.

He imposed two-year sentences on each of the four charges, all to run concurrently.

Drogheda Independent