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Former newsagent is jailed for headbutting theatre security man


The Abbey Theatre.

The Abbey Theatre.

The Abbey Theatre.

A DOWN-on-his-luck newsagent who headbutted the security manager at the Abbey Theatre after he was caught stealing a laptop has been jailed for eight months.

Norman Duff (41) attacked the man as he was being escorted from the theatre's foyer.

Judge Bryan Smyth jailed him after hearing the victim was left with a nasal injury and had not slept properly for a year.

Separately, Duff was also given a consecutive six-month sentence for stealing a shopkeeper's €1,200 bicycle in Dun Laoghaire.

Dublin District Court heard the accused, a father-of-two, had turned to drugs and crime after he lost a successful newsagency business in the recession, his wife died and his life "collapsed around him".

Duff, with an address at Holly Park, Shankill, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Con Doyle at the Abbey Theatre on March 22, 2014.

He also admitted stealing a laptop computer in the same incident.

Previously, Garda Karl Colgan from Store Street Station told the court the accused went into the theatre and tried to take a laptop from the premises.


The security manager stopped him and escorted him outside.

As he was doing so, Duff headbutted him on the nose, injuring him.

Gardai were called and the defendant was arrested.

The victim's nose was swollen and he was treated and X-rayed in hospital.

He told Judge Smyth he had suffered from sleep apnoea since.

Asked about the accused's demeanour on the day, Garda Colgan said "he was coherent, he knew exactly what was going on at the time".

Duff also admitted a series of separate theft charges.

Among them was an incident in which he stole a bicycle outside a shop on George's Street in Dun Laoghaire in an incident on March 3 last. It was never recovered.

On April 14, at Eason's, Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire, he was seen putting a rechargeable speaker worth €79 into his bag.

On January 26, he went to Argos in the Ilac Shopping Centre and put his hand into a woman's bag which was hanging off the back of a pram she was pushing. He took her purse and was arrested.

The court heard the accused had been a newsagent and had his own successful business for 10 years.

It broke down during the recession. His wife also passed away and the "wheels came off his life and things collapsed in on him," his lawyer said.