Assailants jailed for ‘vicious and frenzied’ assault

Victim stabbed, kicked and punched by rampaging duo in early-hours Cork city attack

The court heard that one of the assailants pulled a knife from his pocket and stabbed Mr O’Driscoll in the back, narrowly missing his lung. He then plunged the weapon into the victim’s shoulder. File photograph: Getty Images

The court heard that one of the assailants pulled a knife from his pocket and stabbed Mr O’Driscoll in the back, narrowly missing his lung. He then plunged the weapon into the victim’s shoulder. File photograph: Getty Images


One man has been jailed for six years and another for three over a frenzied attack and robbery on a 45-year-old man.

The victim feared he was going to die when the duo set upon him as he walked home through Cork city centre in the early hours of the morning.

Jamie Crowley (22) from Nutley Road, Mahon in Cork and Peter Carroll (21) from Corrib Lawn, Mayfield in Cork, pleaded guilty to robbery and assault causing harm to John O’Driscoll on the South Mall on September 5th, 2018.

Garda Pat Russell told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that Mr O’Driscoll was walking home along the Grand Parade at about 3.30am after locking up the pub where he was working when two men attacked him.

Crowley punched him and Carroll knocked him to the ground and began kicking him in the head as he lay on the ground. Crowley pulled a knife from his pocket and stabbed him in the back, narrowly missing his lung and then plunged the weapon into his shoulder.

Mr O’Driscoll got to his feet, ran across the road and pulled €100 from his pocket which he threw on the ground for the men who had demanded money. But they continued the assault, punching and kicking him with Crowley continuing to menace Mr O’Driscoll with the knife.

Mr O’Driscoll managed to pick up a beer keg to fend them off before the two assailants ran across Nano Nagle Bridge to Sullivan’s Quay. He then made his way on foot to Anglesea Street Garda station.

Mr O’Driscoll was taken to Cork University Hospital where he was treated for stab wounds as well as a double fracture to his jaw, which required the insertion of a steel plate. He also suffered cuts and bruises to the head.

In Mr O’Driscoll’s victim impact statement to the court, read by Garda Russell, he detailed the aftermath of the assault. This includes flashbacks to the night when he feared he was going to be killed by the two assailants.

“I was kicked on the ground while the other one was stabbing me in the back. I really thought I was going to be killed. I was in shock. I don’t know how I managed but I picked up a keg to use as a defence. This action saved me as they both ran off,” he said.

Plea for leniency

The court heard that Crowley was arrested within 20 minutes of the attack and caught with the knife while gardaí used CCTV to trace Carroll to his flat in the city. They arrested him a week later after finding clothing with blood belonging to Mr O’Driscoll which connected him to the assault.

Both men admitted their parts in the assault and robbery. Defence counsel for Crowley, Dermot Sheehan SC, pleaded for leniency saying his client – who had been in care since a young age – was deeply remorseful for the assault which happened after he had mixed drink and prescription medications.

Defence barrister for Carroll, John Quirke, said his client had little recollection of the night as he too had been drinking but he had written a letter of apology to Mr O’Driscoll and he pleaded for leniency, noting his client had no previous convictions.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin viewed the assault which had been captured on CCTV and described the attack as “vicious and frenzied”. He said were it not for the fact that Mr O’Driscoll had been able to defend himself with the beer keg, he might have died such was their determination to cause him injury.

He said that what was an aggravating factor was that they continued with the assault even after Mr O’Driscoll had handed over €100 and Mr O’Driscoll was extremely fortunate that the stab wounds he received from Crowley’s four inch kitchen knife had missed his vital organs.

He acknowledged that Crowley had a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing. But he felt he had to distinguish between him and Carroll in that he had 36 previous convictions including one for robbery, whereas Carroll had never come to Garda attention before this.

He sentenced Crowley to eight years in jail but suspended the final two in light of his guilty plea and he backdated the sentence to September 5th, 2018, when he was taken into custody. Carroll was sentenced to five years in jail with the final two suspended.