Bronagh Murphy and Fiona Ferguson
A Mayo chef who attacked his former boss with a kitchen knife and another man with a hammer following an evening of drinking has been given a three-year sentence by Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Mr Geoffrey Lavelle (31), originally from Dugarry, Castlebar pleaded guilty to two counts of assault causing harm to Liam Tully and Paul Simpson on February 1, 2006 at a Drumcondra address.
Judge Katherine Delahunt heard that Mr Lavelle’s former boss and friend, Mr Tully, suffered a permanent scar across his face in an attack described by defence counsel as ‘out of the blue’ and ‘for no apparent reason’.
Mr Simpson happened upon the scene after Mr Tully had escaped, and intervened to protect Mr Lavelle’s girlfriend, but received a blow to the face with a claw hammer.
Judge Delahunt imposed a three-year sentence for the assault on Mr Tully, suspending the last two years, and imposed a concurrent two-year sentence, with the last year suspended, for the assault on Mr Simpson.
Judge Deluhunt had ordered in January, when she heard the evidence in the case, that Mr Lavelle pay €6,500 to Mr Tully and €2,000 to Mr Simpson before his sentence was finalised.
She told Mr Lavelle that if he had not paid the compensation to the victims he would have served the full three years in prison. She said she was also taking into account the steps he was taking to deal with his problems, such as attending anger management counselling.
Detective Garda Paul Tallon told Mr Dominic McGinn BL, prosecuting, that Mr Lavelle was a chef who had worked as second in command to Mr Tully but had been sacked two months before the incident. The pair remained friends and continued to meet socially.
Det Gda Tallon said Mr Tully had received a call from a recruitment agency the day before the incident and had told them Mr Lavelle had been sacked but had given him a positive reference.
Mr Tully met Mr Lavelle and his girlfriend for drinks later that night and after six to eight pints the trio went back to the woman’s Drumcondra Road apartment where they continued chatting.
Mr Tully went to the toilet and as he returned was attacked by Mr Lavelle with a large, professional chef’s knife. He struggled with Lavelle and took the knife from him before escaping and getting into a taxi.
Mr Simpson arrived at the flats and saw Mr Tully holding his face and when he heard a continued disturbance coming from Mr Lavelle’s girlfriend’s flat, he called the Gardaí. He then saw Mr Lavelle with his girlfriend and intervened, pulling Mr Lavelle away by the hair.
Det Gda Tallon said Mr Lavelle struck Mr Simpson on the right side of his face with a claw hammer before Mr Simpson forced him out of the building and gardaí arrived.
Judge Delahunt heard that Mr Simpson suffered pain and swelling from his injury while Mr Tully was treated by a specialist plastic surgeon and received eleven stitches to his face.
Mr Lavelle has three previous convictions for road traffic and drugs offences.
Mr Paul Greene BL, defending, offered a ‘genuine and sincere apology’ to both victims and had €8,500 as a token of compensation. He said Mr Lavelle was a recreational abuser of cannabis but had taken steps to address his problems. Mr Lavelle’s girlfriend had stood by him as his behaviour had been ‘so out of character’.