Boy will kill someone unless root of behaviour found, says judge

Kevin Buckley (17) from Cork detained for four years after violently assaulting woman

Kevin Buckley was sentenced to seven years’ detention for the false imprisonment and assault with the final three suspended at Cork Circuit Criminal Court. Image: Google Streetview

A 17-year-old from Cork will end up killing someone unless social services can find out what is causing him to engage in such criminal behaviour, a judge has said.

Judge Seán O’Donnabháin made the comment as he detained the teenager for four years for holding a woman prisoner in a lift, kicking and punching her.

Kevin Buckley’s targeting of the 39-year-old woman was so deliberate, the judge said that he believed it was in the public interest that he lift a prohibition on identifying Buckley because he was a juvenile.

Buckley from Shanakiel Place, Blarney Road, Cork had pleaded guilty earlier this week to falsely imprisoning the woman and to assaulting her at an apartment complex in the city centre at around 7am on December 27th, 2015, when he was just 15.


Buckley had been found not guilty on Thursday of sexually assaulting the woman when a jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court took less than three hours to acquit him of the charge following a two-day trial.

On Friday, Det Garda Colin Greenwood outlined the circumstances of the assault and false imprisonment which happened after Buckley approached the woman on the South Mall and asked her for the time but then proceeded to follow her.

He approached her again and asked her for a kiss. The woman tried to escape him by entering her apartment block but Buckley, realising there were CCTV cameras outside the building, followed her in and as she got into the lift to escape, he forced his way in to the lift and attacked her.

Buckley subjected the woman to what Det Garda Greenwood described as “a violent and sustained assault” kicking and hitting her as the lift went up to fourth floor, back down to the ground floor and up to the fourth floor again.

The woman screamed for help and bit and kicked Buckley in an effort to get him to stop before she managed to get out of the lift and flee, running to a nearby hotel and raising the alarm. Gardaí were alerted and were able to identify Buckley from CCTV and arrested him the following day.

Det Garda Greenwood said that Buckley had 19 previous convictions including a number for robbery where he used the same modus operandi of targeting vulnerable people and forcing them to go to an ATM and withdraw cash.

Victim impact statement

The woman said in her victim impact statement the incident had a huge impact on her life. She said she felt isolated and alone, suffered from anxiety and stress and her self-esteem and confidence had been badly affected.

The judge noted that Buckley had a difficult upbringing in that his father had died at a young age and he ended up being suspended in both primary and secondary school but his mother was a hard-working woman who was highly supportive and doing her best to control him.

“He is not just a wayward youth – there is something far more disturbing going on here and unless someone finds the key to that, he will end up killing somebody,” the judge said, adding that he had subjected his victim to “a chilling and terrifying ordeal in the lift”.

He sentenced Buckley to seven years’ detention for the false imprisonment and assault but suspended the final three on condition he be of good behaviour. He allowed Buckley to be identified in the public interest because of the seriousness of the offence and his previous convictions.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times