A man who saw his six-year-old sister die in a caravan fire has been jailed for a year for a city centre attack on two men. Wayne Connors’ defence counsel detailed his “tragic” background, which included the loss of his father to a road traffic accident and death of a two-year-old family member due to smoke inhalation.
Connors (21), Upper Rathmines Road, Dublin, was granted compassionate bail last month to attend the funeral of his cousin who was killed in the recent Carrickmines halting site fire.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Connors moved in with an aunt after the death of both his parents but that he left that house and became homeless because he was met with "aggression and abuse there".
Connors was charged with attacking a student by the Central Bank who had previously been pick-pocketed by a friend of his. Connors also attacked a man who was helping the student, leaving him with a burst eardrum. Connors pleaded guilty to assaulting Seán Clarke and Gavin Murray at Boyne Street Upper, Dublin, on November 10th, 2013.
Judge Martin Nolan noted his "history of some tragedy" and his young age but said that a custodial sentence was warranted. He imposed a 2½-year term with the final 18 months suspended and an 18 months post-release supervision order.
Garda Kevin Hasley told Ronan Kennedy, defending, that Mr Clarke had gone to a gig in the Olympia and was walking through the city when he felt his wallet being removed from his pocket. He spotted the pickpocket and went to Garda Hasley who was on foot patrol. The garda told him to contact him if he saw the pickpocket again. Later that night Mr Clarke spotted the culprit but his phone was dead. He chased the man to the Central Bank where the pickpocket joined a group of people which included Connors.
Mr Clarke approach Mr Murray and his wife who had just finished dinner. Mr Murray agreed to let the student use his phone to call Garda Hasley.
At this point, the group started shouting at Mr Clarke and Murray. Connors and others punched Mr Murray several times. When Mr Clarke went to help Mr Murray, Connors also started punching him. One of the group kicked Mr Clarke in the head while he was on the ground.
After a few minutes the two men managed to fight off the group. Gardaí were alerted and Garda Hasley arrested Connors later that night on Bachelors Walk. The garda said Connors resisted arrest and he was forced to use pepper spray and bring him to the ground.
Eoin Lawlor, defending, said Connors attacked the two men because he was under the misapprehension that his girlfriend was being falsely accused of something. He said he was drunk at the time and “saw red”.