Three members of family jailed over knife and hatchet attack

Michael Stokes, Richard Stokes and Simon Stokes sentenced to two and a half years each

Three members of the same family who were involved in a persistent and vicious attack involving Stanley knives and a hatchet have been jailed for two and a half years each.

Dublin Circuit Court heard that Michael Stokes (35), Richard Stokes (26) and Simon Stokes (28), all with an address at Kishogue Park, Lucan, Dublin pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Michael Ward on June 3rd, 2015.

Det Garda Gerrit Durnin told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that on the evening of that date the three men arrived at the victim’s home at Palmer Court, Rush, Dublin.

Mr Ward was in an upstairs bedroom watching TV, and his partner Rachel Tennant who was six and a half months pregnant at the time was bathing their one-year-old child. Two other children were watching TV downstairs.


Ms Tennant heard voices and came out of the bathroom to find the defendants coming up the stairs shouting, “Where is he?” Mr Ward came out of the bedroom, saw the three men and shouted at his partner to get the children out of the house.

The three attackers then assaulted Mr Ward using Stanley knives and a hatchet and by hitting and punching him.

After the three men had left the house, the court hear, Mr Ward thought he was dying and all he could think of was his children. His partner came back into the house, grabbed a towel, and placed pressure on a wound on his right leg.

When the emergency services arrived, they found Mr Ward on the floor with a large amount of blood surrounding him. He was hospitalised for 12 days and treated for injuries to the arms, face, head and an open fracture to the tibia, which required surgery.

The three accused were arrested and a trial date set for 2019. The trial was delayed because Mr Ward was facing a trial for a separate offending. The court also heard that Mr Ward is currently serving time in prison.

Guilty pleas

Last October, the Stokes pleaded guilty to the assault charges.

The court heard that Richard Stokes is a married father of four who is currently caring for his wife on a full-time basis. He has six previous convictions and has not come to the attention of the gardaí since this assault over six years ago.

Garnet Orange SC, for Michael Stokes, told court that his client has no previous convictions, and is a married father of seven children. He told the court that his client’s wife and son both suffer from health conditions and he has a very hands-on role within the family.

The court heard that Michael Stokes offered apologies to Michael Ward, his partner and children for the attack. In addition, his probation services report outlines that he is at low risk of reoffending and has no alcohol or drug addictions.

Paddy McGrath SC, for Simon Stokes, told the court his client has a stable family life with his wife and three children, and over the past six there have been substantial and positive changes in his client’s life. He said his client has attended for anger management issues, has raised money for charity and has feelings of guilt and remorse for the victim and the victim’s family.

Judge Martin Nolan noted that the attack was a vicious and persistent attack where the victim received many lacerations, blows, punches and a fracture. The judge noted this was a terrifying experience for Ms Tennant and their children.

Judge Nolan considered the mitigating factors when sentencing, such as the positive probation reports, the guilty pleas of all three accused, as well as their expressions of remorse. The judge also noted that the three accused were unlikely to re-offend to this degree again.

Judge Nolan stated that a custodial sentence could not be avoided, and no court can condone where three men force their way into a family home and carry out an attack.

Judge Nolan handed down a two-and-a-half year sentence to each of the accused.