Man who crashed stolen bicycle into English tourist jailed for eight years

Jeffrey Crowley has 92 previous convictions many involving ‘gratuitous violence’

Jeffrey Crowley of Blackhall Parade, Dublin also pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Jason Kidd at Merchants Quay on October 24th, 2018. Photograph: Collins Courts

Jeffrey Crowley of Blackhall Parade, Dublin also pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Jason Kidd at Merchants Quay on October 24th, 2018. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A man who crashed a stolen bicycle into an elderly English tourist, shattering her elbow and leaving her with life-changing injuries, has been jailed for eight years.

Jeffrey Crowley (23) pleaded guilty to cycling into Christine Booth at Smithfield Square, Dublin on August 2nd, 2019, causing a substantial risk of death or serious harm. He also pleaded guilty to damaging a bike lock and stealing a phone at Smithfield Square on the same date.

Crowley of Blackhall Parade, Dublin also pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Jason Kidd at Merchants Quay on October 24th, 2018.

He further pleaded guilty to stealing a phone at Queen Street on July 24th this year and damaging a phone at Georges Lane on December 11th, 2016, during which he pushed a woman to the ground and kicked her. He has 92 previous convictions.

Handing down a sentence of nine years and three months with the final 15 months suspended on Friday, Judge Elma Sheahan noted it was “not an inconsiderable sentence”.

“But it would be an injustice to any of the individual injured parties to further reduce the sentence, which I believe reflects the totality of the offending,” she said.

She said the sentence “reflects what can only be described as a sequence of egregious individual acts,” noting that many of Crowley’s offences involved “gratuitous violence”.

Judge Sheahan said he had refused help on a number of occasions from state bodies, including refusing to accept visits in custody from a probation officer.

Tourist’s injuries

Det Gda Shane Connolly previously told Ger Small BL, prosecuting, that on the day Ms Booth was injured, Crowley stole a bike belonging to a Brazilian student staying in a hostel in Smithfield Square. He then stole a phone from a man walking through the square.

As Crowley made off at high speed on the stolen bike, he crashed into 72-year-old Ms Booth who was crossing the road with her family.

Ms Booth had just arrived in Ireland with her daughter and three grandchildren the day before the incident. The family had had an “idyllic holiday” up to that point and had spent that day in the zoo and the Phoenix Park, the court heard.

Ms Booth landed heavily on the ground, shattering her elbow and breaking her hip. The court heard she was in immediate “agony” following the fall. She was taken by ambulance to hospital where she underwent surgery later that night.

Doctors described it as the worst shattered elbow they had ever seen and Ms Booth has been advised she will need an elbow replacement. She will never be able to regain full strength in her arm, the court heard.

In a victim impact statement handed into court, Ms Booth said the total financial loss was €3,878. She described how her daughter and grandchildren were extremely upset and how she can still hear her grandchildren “screaming and crying” in the aftermath of the incident.

She said she often thinks about how one of the children could have been seriously injured instead of her. The family never wishes to return to Ireland, the court heard.

‘Frustrated’

The court also heard that on October 24th, 2018, Jason Kidd was walking home from a night out with a colleague when three men approached him at Merchants Quay.

Crowley, who was one of three men, hit Mr Kidd in the head without warning. He was left with a broken nose.

Crowley was identified by gardaí­ from CCTV. When asked by gardaí why he hit Mr Kidd, he said he was on drugs and “frustrated”.

Crowley has been in custody since he was apprehended by gardaí shortly after the incident involving Ms Booth.

He is currently serving a suspended sentence for a previous conviction for assault causing harm that was reactivated when he failed to engage with Probation Services.

Keith Spencer BL, defending, said his client was “disgusted” at his behaviour and acknowledged the harm he had caused. He said that Crowley now wished to receive residential treatment for his addiction issues. He has a two-year-old son.