Elderly man who attacked neighbour’s father with pitchfork gets suspended sentence

Victim sustained injuries to face and leg after row over demolition of boundary wall

An elderly man who attacked his neighbour’s father with a pitchfork in a dispute over the demolition of a boundary wall has received a fully suspended prison sentence.

Brian Mullen (77) believed the wall was his and after it was demolished he assaulted the man with a pitchfork. The victim sustained an injury to his face and his leg was later determined to be fractured.

Mullen of Birchview Close, Kilnamanagh, Tallaght, was convicted by a jury following a trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in February 2022 of assaulting John Wayne causing him harm at his address on April 13th, 2019.

He was also convicted of production of an article and endangerment at the same address on the same date. He had pleaded not guilty to all of the charges and has no previous convictions.


Passing sentence on Wednesday, Judge Elma Sheahan said she would suspend a custodial sentence of 20 months on condition that Mullen have no interactions with the victim. She said she was taking into consideration his age, his remorse and his previous good record.

She also noted that he had brought a sum of €10,000 to court as a practical demonstration of his remorse.

Garda Mark Fall told Diana Stuart, prosecuting, that on the date in question, Mr Wayne attended at his son’s house to assist in taking down the wall in his back garden.

Gda Fall said on foot of the construction work there was a dispute between them and Mullen, the next-door neighbour. Certain words were exchanged and Mullen sprayed water from a hose over the wall.

They demolished the wall and Mullen got involved in an altercation, ultimately assaulting Mr Wayne with a pitchfork. Mr Wayne sustained an injury to his face. His leg was later determined to be fractured.

Gda Fall agreed with George Burns, defending, that his client had contacted gardaí on two previous occasions prior to this incident and called gardaí again on the day.

The garda agreed with counsel that his client believed the wall in question was his.

Mr Burns said his client accepts the verdict of the jury and is remorseful for what happened. He said his client had brought the cash to court as a gesture of goodwill. Ms Stuart told the court that Mr Wayne was willing to accept these funds.

Counsel said his client dropped the pitchfork when he went up on to the roof and only picked it up when other parties approached. He said his client acted impulsively and in response to a perceived provocation that he felt.

He asked the court to consider that his client is a man of very advanced years and of significant ill health that is deteriorating to a degree.