Heroin addict jailed for ‘vicious’ daylight attack on man

Victim has recurring nightmares after being hit on the head and having his eyes gouged

A 36-year-old heroin addict has been jailed for 5½ years for his part in a robbery in a Cork suburb at lunch hour in which an Albanian man was attacked and beaten with a stick and had his eyes gouged before he was robbed of €50 and a tobacco case.

Trevor O'Sullivan, from Roche's Buildings in Cork, had denied his involvement in the robbery of 35-year-old Viron Kaja on Spring Lane, in Blackpool, on May 24th last but a jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court found him guilty by an 11-1 majority following a three-day trial.

The jury heard how Mr Kaja was set upon by two assailants as he was looking for accommodation in Blackpool. One man hit him on the head with a long stick while another caught him around the neck and began to gouge his eyes as he tried to protect himself

They robbed him of €50, a silver tobacco case given to him by his grandfather and his mobile phone. But when his phone fell, breaking the glass on it, he pleaded with them to give it back because it contained photographs of sentimental value and they returned it to him.


Very frightened

Mr Kaja, who has been living in Ireland for 16 years and is married to an Irish woman and has two children, told the court in a victim impact statement that the robbery was vicious and it took several months for his eyesight to return to normal.

He said he was very frightened and upset by the attack and had recurring nightmares about it. He remains unemployed as he had to give up a welding course because of the trauma of the robbery.

O'Sullivan, who denied any involvement in the robbery and claimed he was having lunch with his wife in the Coffee Pot cafe in Blackpool at the time, had a total of 58 previous convictions including for theft and burglary, Garda Aidan Green told the court.

Judge Gerard O’Brien said it was a particularly shocking attack where Mr Kaja was out looking for accommodation in Cork to enable him to attend a welding course, only to be viciously assaulted by O’Sullivan in tandem with another man and left bleeding profusely on the ground.

“No remorse has been shown. No apology has been given to an innocent man going about his own business . . . The victim impact statement makes very grim reading. He cannot stop thinking about the attack and now lives in constant fear.

“Vicious random attacks cause immense insecurity in the community,” said Judge O’Brien as he observed that O’Sullivan’s heroin addiction increased exponentially his risk of re-offending.

He sentenced him to seven years in jail with the last 18 months suspended.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times