Plumber who lost plot jailed for assault after parking place row

Assailant struck victim with poker, threatened to destroy house and car during quarrel

A 46-year-old plumber has been jailed for three years for striking another man with a poker and threatening to destroy his house and car during a row over a parking space.

Gavin Craven from Glenfield Avenue, Ballyvolane, Co Cork, also claimed to be a member of the IRA during the incident.

He pleaded guilty on Monday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to a man at Liffey Park, Mayfield, in early August 2020, contrary to section three of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997.

Det Supt Mick Comyns outlined the background to the assault which happened when a third party called to the injured man's house at about 11pm and asked him to move his car because he needed to park his own in an area covered by close circuit television (CCTV).


The injured party said he would do it in the morning as he could not drive after consuming alcohol at home. He went back indoors but 30 minutes later he was accosted at his door by Craven who had received a call from the third party aggrieved over the parking.

Det Supt Comyns said Craven was waving a poker in a threatening manner: "He was very hostile and had an iron bar in his hand. He said, 'I am in the Irish Republican Army. You don't know who you are f***ing with. I will have people up to do the house and do the car.' "

Craven continued behaving in a threatening and hostile manner. And he hit the man on the right arm and ribs with the poker before the victim could get indoors to phone gardaí.

The injured man pointed out Craven sitting in a car parked nearby to gardaí, where they found the poker. The incident had also been captured on CCTV.

Det Supt Comyns said Craven denied having said he was a member of the IRA but did say he was a republican to indicate that he was not “a scumbag”. He said he did not want any trouble when questioned by gardaí.


In a victim-impact statement, the injured man said: “The man who attacked me not only physically assaulted me but also threatened to come back with members of the Irish Republican Army and destroy me, my partner, my partner’s car and my home. His threats left me and my partner feeling vulnerable . . . Other people say I should be strong . . . but that is easier said than done.”

Defence counsel Emmet Boyle said Craven was intoxicated when he got the call from the third party who said the householder had used "unpleasant words" during the exchange about moving the car. He said Craven admitted responsibility for his actions.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said it was a crime of almost-total lawlessness where Craven got a phone call, turned up intoxicated and assaulted a man with a poker, but the fact that he was intoxicated was no excuse for his behaviour.

“This guy thought he could do what he liked. There is a mishap about a parked car and he arms himself with a poker and goes to the other man’s house. That is lawlessness of entitlement – a bad and dangerous combination. I take a serious view of what happened and things that were said.

“When drink was in and blood was up, it happened with a determination and ferocity . . . This was completely unprovoked,” said the judge, adding that the fact Craven armed himself with a poker was a seriously-aggravating factor.

The judge said he would sentence Craven to four years in jail but suspend the final year on condition that he be of good behaviour and keep the peace. He said he intended that to mean Craven would have no contact nor go near the injured man or the suspension would be lifted.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times