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Drug addict tried to choke himself in garda custody after horror knife attack

Gavin Guinan Cahill
Gavin Guinan Cahill

An addict who stabbed a man, puncturing his lung before trying to steal the victim's girlfriend's handbag, has been jailed for five years.

Gavin Guinan Cahill (38), a nephew of slain gang boss Martin 'The General' Cahill, stabbed David Hawkins in the chest before cutting the victim's arm as he tried to protect himself from further blows. He then attacked him with the broken handle of the weapon cutting the man's neck.

Mr Hawkins had to have his lung re-inflated in hospital. The wound to his chest was closed with stitches.

Guinan Cahill of Lissadel Road, Drimnagh, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm and two charges of attempted robbery on Aungier Street on February 17, 2014.

Guinan Cahill was arrested nearby after gardai witnessed the attack. He later tried to choke himself using his boxer shorts while at the garda station for questioning.

His 35 previous convictions include a jail term for a similar serious assault in 2005 during which he approached two couples and stabbed a man leaving him bleeding heavily.

He then threatened a taxi driver who tried to help the victim. When gardai arrested Guinan Cahill he had two knives strapped to his leg.

The other offences include assault, drug, violent disorder and road traffic.

Judge Melanie Greally had adjourned the case last week having heard evidence to allow Guinan Cahill attend his son's First Communion.

She said she had taken into account the fact that Guinan Cahill was "raised in adverse personal circumstances" and that he had with "various degrees of success" addressed his "long established history of drug abuse".

The judge said that Mr Hawkins had been exposed to "a very serious risk" with the use of a knife to both his chest and neck before she jailed Guinan Cahill for five years.

Garda Teresa Mackin told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that Mr Hawkins turned around when he heard an "incomprehensible roar". He saw Guinan Cahill with his arms outstretched, bobbing left to right before he drew back his arm and struck the victim in the chest.

Mr Hawkins said he felt "a lot of pressure" but didn't notice the knife until the man drew back his arm a second time. He lifted his arm up to protect himself and was cut in the elbow. After he was struck in the neck the man turned his attention to his girlfriend.

He grabbed her scarf and was trying to take her handbag from her and shouted "bag" and "phone".

Guinan Cahill then saw a nearby squad car, dropped the knife and left. He was arrested a short time later and brought in for questioning.

Gda Mackin agreed with Ms Small that Guinan Cahill was difficult with gardai and tried to choke himself with his own boxer shorts. He was handcuffed for his own safety and brought to hospital after he refused medical treatment.

Guinan Cahill was later brought back to the garda station but made no admissions during garda interviews.

James Dwyer BL, defending, said his client wanted to apologise to the victims for his behaviour on the night.

He said Guinan Cahill had been using drugs from the age of 10 and was abusing crack cocaine before coming to garda attention for violent behaviour.

Counsel said a forensic psychiatrist's report concluded that his client had a chronic poly-substance addiction and mental health issues.

He accepted that a report from his GP, which outlined what medication he was on, didn't state that Guinan Cahill had any mental health difficulties.

Sonya McLean