A 32-year-old father of two has been jailed for two years after he pleaded guilty to biting off part of man’s nose in a pub in an unprovoked attack and spitting it out on the floor.
Gareth Fitzgerald of The Erne, Riverside, Rathcormac, Co Cork pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Kieran O'Leary at the Fob and Gill pub in Mayfield on January 2nd 2012.
Det Garda James O'Shea told Cork Circuit Criminal Court how Mr O'Leary had been out for a New Year's Night drink with his wife when the unprovoked attack happened.
Mr O’Leary and his wife had been minding their own business when Fitzgerald approached them and started passing comments about Mr O’Leary’s wife.
Mr O’Leary asked him to leave them alone but Fitzgerald told him “to shut up or I’ll bite your nose off” whereupon he leaned over and bit off part of Mr O’Leary’s nose.
Mr O’Leary was rushed to hospital and has since undergone a number of skin grafts but it’s unclear whether the grafts will work and the assault has impacted hugely on him.
Describing the assault as “a cowardly act”, Mr O’Leary said Fitzgerald ran off before he even had a chance to ask why he had done it and he was now very conscious of how he looked.
“Apart from biting off a portion of my nose he also took a piece of my spirit. Prior to this assault I would go to matches with my family and friends, stand on the sideline and shout.
“I was a very competitive person. I do not do this anymore because I am conscious of people looking at me. This part of my spirit is gone,” said Mr O’Leary.
“Every time I look in the mirror I find myself looking at my nose and it is a constant reminder. I suffer from nightmares since the assault,” he added.
Mr O’Leary said that he had read a letter of apology from Fitzgerald but it meant nothing to him and he could not forgive him for what he had done.
“I hope he has learned from this but I keep wondering why someone who I just knew to see could do such a vicious unprovoked assault on me.”
Defence barrister, Donal O’Sullivan BL, said Fitzgerald was a hard-working father of two who had no previous convictions and had paid €14,500 compensation to the victim.
He asked Judge Patrick Moran not to jail him but Judge Moran said he had duty to society and to people like Mr O'Leary who was minding his own business when he was attacked.
“It was a savage act of violence - a man was sitting in a licensed premises with his wife having a quiet drink and he was suddenly confronted and attacked and had his nose bitten off
“It was barbaric in the extreme ... the courts have a duty to society ... people cannot go into licensed premises and behave like animals,” he said as jailed Fitzgerald for two years.