A random knife attack on a German tourist at Dublin Airport was “a cry for help” from a man “driven to despair” after being made homeless, a court heard.
Kasonga Mbuyi (51) whose latest address was a hostel on Clare Street in Co Limerick, was charged with assault causing harm, unlawful possession of a penknife as a weapon, and carrying an article with intent to cause injury outside the departures lounge at Terminal 1 on September 17th.
The Irish citizen originally from Angola appeared at Dublin District Court on Saturday when Judge John Campbell refused bail and held him in custody.
The court heard that Mr Mbuyi, who lived in Limerick since 2003, sought social welfare assistance after becoming homeless.
Detective Garda Cathal Connolly told the court that Mr Mbuyi made no reply to the assault charge but responded “I was looking for help” to the weapons offences.
Detective Garda Connolly objected to bail, citing flight risk concerns. He alleged that at 11.20am on September 17th, a German national had been standing alone outside the departure entrance. The tourist was “subjected to a random knife attack”, allegedly perpetrated by the accused.
The detective claimed Mr Mbuyi made no attempt to conceal his identity and told the man “I’m going to kill you” before attacking and stabbing him to the left side of his body.
The contested bail hearing was told he used a penknife with a 2½ inch blade.
Both fell to the ground, but friends of the injured man ran out and pulled them apart, after which the accused was arrested.
The court heard the German suffered eight wounds to his left arm and body, requiring 12 stitches, and he has been discharged from hospital.
Judge Campbell heard that the incident was captured on CCTV.
Detective Garda Connolly explained that the accused was charged on Friday night after spending several days getting treatment for a broken ankle and displaced knee, injuries which predated the incident.
Detective Garda Connolly agreed with defence solicitor Tracy Horan that the accused said he was seeking help. He was recently made homeless from an address in Limerick, where he lived for seven years.
His former rented home was sold, and he had to move into a hostel, which he was not used to, the court heard.
His social welfare payments stopped.
Detective Garda Connolly said the accused had been at the airport “tapping” people for money to buy a ticket to London.
The officer feared the accused, who had no ties to this jurisdiction, would be a flight risk if granted bail.
The garda said due to the alleged incident, Mr Mbuyi’s former hostel could no longer offer him accommodation because of its duty of care.
In exchanges with Ms Horan, the detective accepted the accused was in great pain from his pre-existing leg injuries.
The solicitor said her client had sought assistance, but none was available, and the incident “was a cry for help” and isolated.
Pleading for bail, she said he had Irish citizenship since 2014 but was “driven to despair” and “just broke”, which the garda witness accepted.
Mr Mbuyi, who was on crutches, listened to the proceedings with the help of an interpreter but did not address the court.
Ms Horan said her client would abide by strict conditions and submitted that refusing bail could lead to a lengthy period in custody.
A file is to be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions with a recommendation that he face trial on indictment at a higher level, which can impose sentences of up to five years for the offences.
Judge Campbell denied bail and remanded Mr Mbuyi in custody to appear at Cloverhill District Court on Wednesday. Legal aid was granted.