Man (23) given suspended sentence for knife attack on escort

Judges took fact that Liam Vickers’ mother was murdered by his father into account in sentencing

Liam Vickers, of Swifts Grove, Clonshaugh, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm in an apartment in Dublin city centre in the early hours of September 30th, 2017. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times.

Liam Vickers, of Swifts Grove, Clonshaugh, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm in an apartment in Dublin city centre in the early hours of September 30th, 2017. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times.

 

A man who attacked a transgender woman with a knife and demanded that she provide him with free sex has received a fully suspended sentence.

Liam Vickers (23) also threatened the victim’s roommate who attempted to intervene during the incident.

Vickers, of Swifts Grove, Clonshaugh, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm in an apartment in Dublin city centre in the early hours of September 30th, 2017.

He has two previous convictions for driving while holding a mobile phone and failure to appear. The court heard his father pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering his mother in 2009.

Judge Elma Sheahan had previously adjourned sentencing, ordering that Vickers follow all directions of the Probation Service and directing that drug testing be carried out each month.

Passing sentencing on Friday, Judge Sheahan said Vickers has been visited with great challenges in his life and has made significant strides in the last 18 months. She said this was a serious assault on a person who was vulnerable but she could not place to one side Vickers’ own experience in his early life “which was horrific on any level”.

Therapy

She noted that he has fully co-operated with the Probation Service, engaged with restorative justice and as a result reduced his risk of reoffending, She also noted he is in employment and dealing with his alcohol intake in therapy.

Judge Sheahan sentenced Vickers to two years imprisonment, but suspended the entirety of the sentence for three years on strict conditions including that he follow all directions of the Probation Service and pay €2,000 in compensation to the victim within 12 months.

At an earlier sentence hearing, Garda Sgt Karl Colgan told Derek Cooney BL, prosecuting, that the victim worked at the time as an escort and on the date in question she got a call from Vickers to see if she was free.

After she brought Vickers into her bedroom he took out a large knife and tried to stab her in the face. She blocked the attack and was wounded on her arm and cheek.

Vickers pointed the knife at her and asked for free sex, which she refused. Her roommate attempted to intervene and was also threatened with the knife.

He told the victim to sit on the bed and delete his phone number and texts from her mobile phone. She deleted his texts and he walked calmly from the room, but she did not delete her call history and saved his phone number.

During interview with gardaí, Vickers said was drinking in a park earlier that day and consumed half a litre of vodka as well as taking cocaine and sleeping pills. He said he found the knife in the park and took it with him because he was paranoid about “being robbed”.

Lost trust

In a victim impact statement, which was read out in court, the woman said she was attacked a second time with a knife after this incident and that she has lost her ability to trust people.

She said she now feared being alone and that although her native Brazil was known for being a violent country, she was never attacked while living there.

Sgt Colgan agreed with Dean Kelly SC, defending, that his client’s mother was murdered in 2009 by his father, who is currently serving a life sentence.

Mr Kelly said his client acknowledges that this “violent and cowardly offence” is aggravated by its victim being a person working far from home in a line of work that might dissuade them from approaching gardaí. He said that Vickers has significant empathy for what the injured party experienced and that he is remorseful and ashamed of his actions.