Charlestown man beaten for €60, some medication and a packet of cigarettes
A 65 year-old man was forced to move away from his home in Charlestown after he was attacked there by raiders, who broke his leg and put a scissors to his throat.
Martin McDonagh of 1 Lowpark, Charlestown, pleaded guilty in Castlebar Circuit Court to assault causing harm to Finbarr Maloney in his home on August 16, 2009. Mr McDonagh was one of two men who attacked Mr Maloney and threatened to kill him if he contacted gardaí. The pair left the house with €60, Mr Maloney’s medication and his cigarettes.
‘You’re a dead man’
The court heard that Mr McDonagh and a woman had called to Mr Maloney’s house earlier in the evening selling ornaments.
Detective Garda Ken Waldron explained that at 9.40pm, Mr Maloney had opened his back door to let his dog out before watching television. He heard a noise and went to investigate and was jumped on by two men wearing balaclavas. One of the men jumped on his leg while the second man, who was identified as Mr McDonagh, put a scissors to his neck and chin and warned, ‘If you tell the police anything about us you’re a dead man’.
He then took Mr Maloney’s medication and cigarettes and took €60 from his wallet. Before he left he put the scissors to his nose and again warned him, ‘I promise you, you’re a dead man if you tell the police’.
Det Garda Waldron explained that Mr Maloney had managed to take the balaclava off one of the men and recognised him as Mr McDonagh who had earlier called to the home. He said he had never seen him before that.
Mr Maloney managed to get help and Mr McDonagh was arrested but denied participating in the attack. During the attack, Mr Maloney’s nose was cut and forensic evidence matched his blood with blood found on the defendant’s jumper.
Living in fear
Mr Maloney suffered a broken fibia in the attack which required surgery. In a victim impact statement, he said he now has a limp. He stated that he did not feel safe in Charlestown because he was afraid Mr McDonagh’s family would get him. He said he moved to Castlebar, and as a result he does not receive rent supplement and added he will never forgive McDonagh.
Ms Mary Rose Gearty, Senior Counsel for the defendant, said her client was remorseful for what happened and while in custody was trying to turn his life around. She said he was educating himself in prison and was attending Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous courses.
Judge Tony Hunt said that Mr McDonagh was lucky the judge’s hands were tied on the matter because the maximum sentence he could hand down was five years. He called the attack a revolting and appalling offence which had physical and psychological consequences for Mr Maloney.
While he acknowledged the progress the defendant is making in prison, he told Mr McDonagh that the offence deserved the maximum sentence. Judge Hunt sentenced Mr McDonagh to five years imprisonment, but suspended the final 18 months for two years following release.