Rugby player jailed over vicious late night assault at takeaway

Victim needed life-saving surgery after attack

Judge O’Donnell described as “harrowing” Sean Ambrose’s victim impact statement, in which he outlined the traumatic effects of the attack. Photograph: Reuters

A talented former rugby player has been jailed for 8½ years with the final 2½ years suspended for a vicious assault on a father-of-two, who needed life-saving brain surgery due to his injuries.

James Corbett, (24), struck Sean Ambrose (34), so hard, that Mr Ambrose’s “brain bounced from side to side” in his skull.

Limerick Circuit Court judge Tom O’Donnell described Corbett’s actions on the night as “a violent and unprovoked attack on a helpless man”.

Mr Ambrose, a road haulage contractor from Mountcollins, was forced to give up work, and continues to suffer mentally and physically.


Judge O’Donnell described as “harrowing” Mr Ambrose’s victim impact statement, in which he outlined the traumatic effects of the attack.

“I was hit so hard that my brain bounced from side to side inside in my head and then swelled,” Mr Ambrose wrote.

“This attack has changed the person I was.”

Mr Ambrose woke up out of a medically induced coma at University Hospital Limerick. After receiving several months of speech and language therapy at the National Rehabilitation Hospital, he also began getting flashbacks of the attack.

Psychological trauma

He told the court he continues to suffer chronic headaches and changeable moods, which has affected his relationships. He said he also cries almost every night due to ongoing psychological trauma.

“I appreciate how lucky I am to be alive today. I am still learning to live and cope with the consequences of somebody else’s violence.” he said.

Corbett, of Sharwood Estate, Newcastle West, set upon Mr Ambrose outside a takeaway in the town on August 24th, 2015, after the pair had exchanged words earlier on the night at a local pub.

The Newcastle West RFC backrow forward who, the court heard, had been a promising Munster underage player, firstly punched Mr Ambrose, knocking him unconscious. Corbett then delivered three more blows while Mr Ambrose lay helpless on the ground.

The back of Mr Ambrose’s head hit the ground and he sustained a fracture from the base of his skull to over his right ear. Corbett offered Mr Ambrose €20,000 in compensation, which the court ordered he give the victim, without prejudice to any possible further civil proceedings.