Attacker claimed 'irresistible urge' caused by cholesterol medication


THE EIGHT-DAY trial heard extensive expert evidence on the potential effects of a cholesterol drug. The victim was walking along a north Dublin street when Lyons came up behind her and put his arm around her before asking if she would be okay getting home. He then rugby-tackled her to the ground.

“As he was trying to push me into dark area where the wooded area is, I hit him over the head with my phone as hard as I could,” she said. “I was screaming ‘no, no, no’ and ‘help’ and everything I could think of.”

The woman said she was face down on the ground while Lyons was groping and fondling her from behind. She said his full weight was on her and she couldn’t move.

“I said at one point I was pregnant and asked him to stop.”

The woman said that while Lyons was struggling to remove her underwear, she phoned gardaí and told them she was being raped. She said she was digitally penetrated during the attack until a passerby came to her aid, causing Lyons to flee.

Gardaí were immediately alerted and Lyons was arrested nearby. He initially denied the offence and was released on bail.

Several months later he handed a statement to gardaí admitting the attack but claiming he was overcome with an “irresistible urge” brought on by the cholesterol medication he had started taking the day before.

Because of his admissions, most of the trial focused on whether the drug Rosuvastatin was to blame for Lyons’s actions.

Giving medical evidence for the prosecution, Prof Alice Stanton, a specialist in clinical pharmacology, said clinical trials of Rosuvastatin provided no evidence that it caused increased irritability, aggression or violence.

For the defence, Dr Malcolm Vandenburg told Patrick Gageby SC, defending, about case studies which listed several patients who were on similar types of medication and showed highly aggressive behaviour, including one man who chased his wife around the room.

Lyons’s wife of 22 years, Eileen, gave character evidence for her husband. She said the attack was “beyond all understanding” and that he had “never lifted a hand” to her or anyone else. Kerida Naidoo, prosecuting, asked Ms Lyons: “Isn’t it the reality that you just can’t admit your husband is guilty of this crime?”

“That’s not the reality, my husband is a kind and gentle man”, Ms Lyons responded before beginning to cry.

During the sentence hearing last month, Mr Gageby presented a doctor’s report stating that cough syrup mixed with alcohol could have affected Lyons’s actions. He said this was not an excuse but perhaps an explanation. He handed in a “very large bundle of references” offering “unstinting support” for Lyons.

Mr Gageby added that Lyons was willing to pay compensation to the victim but that it was not appropriate to offer this before sentence was passed.

Mr Gageby also asked Judge Desmond Hogan to take into account the large amount of media publicity the trial has received and its effect on Lyons’s family.