Man slit his house mate's throat in unprovoked drunken attack
A Kerry resident who slit his house mate's throat in a random attack has been jailed for seven years.
Paul Lestrange (40) told his victim to write a will prior to the unprovoked assault and after cutting the man's throat with a bread knife told him: “I told you it would end badly.”
He stopped his house mate and neighbours from helping the injured man until he was overpowered and disarmed.
Lestrange, of Rosdedara, Killarney pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing serious harm to James McGuirk and production of a kitchen knife at North Circular Road, Dublin on January 15, 2015.
Judge Martin Nolan said Lestrange had “bizarrely developed an animus” towards Mr McGuirk and slit his throat.
He said it was lucky for Lestrange that his victim did not die but that Mr McGuirk no doubt had an “apprehension of death and thought he was going to die.”
He said there appeared to be no particular motivation and noted that Lestrange had a small number of previous conviction which all involved alcohol. He noted Lestrange's expression of remorse.
Judge Nolan said this was a very serious assault and that the only possible intention behind the attack was to kill. He said the attack left Mr McGuirk with a severely disfiguring scar.
Garda Joseph Gavin told Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, that Mr McGuirk shared his house with both Lestrange and Martin Roche who rented rooms from him. He said they appeared to get on well but alcohol was a day to day feature within the house.
That night his house-mates had noticed Lestrange was in an agitated state. Mr Roche went to bed leaving Mr McGuirk and Lestrange in the sitting room. Lestrange began speaking “gibberish” and making threats such as telling Mr McGuirk to write his will and that things would end badly for him.
Mr McGuirk did not pay much attention to him until he saw Lestrange with a large bread knife.
Gda Gavin said that nothing had seemed to lead up to the incident, that there had been no argument and it seemed to be a random attack.
Lestrange pointed the knife at Mr McGuirk, still rambling about writing a will. He stuck the knife in Mr McGuirk's neck and pulled it across his throat, telling him: “I told you it would end badly.”
Mr McGuirk said he could feel blood pouring out of the wound. Mr Roche heard the noise and came downstairs to find Mr McGuirk in a chair and Lestrange standing over him with the knife in his hand. Lestrange stopped him from helping and he ran to seek assistance from neighbours.
Lestrange initially stopped the neighbours from helping Mr McGuirk as well but was disarmed. Mr Roche alerted the gardai and ambulance. He pointed out Lestrange to gardai on their arrival.
Lestrange made admissions to gardai about being present at the house but replied “no comment” to questions about how the attack happened.
Mr McGuirk outlined in his victim impact statement that he suffered post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of the horrific incident. He has been left with a prominent and visible scar.
Gda Gavin said he believed Lestrange was reliant on alcohol during this time and that it was a “spontaneous and random” incident. Lestrange has four minor previous convictions.
Kieran Kelly BL, defending, said Lestrange had been drinking on the night in the house and for no apparent reason he had taken possession of the knife and perpetrated the assault.
He said Lestrange has not come to any garda attention since and wanted to put this behind him. He regretted the offence and offered an apology to Mr McGuirk.
Mr Kelly said Lestrange had grown up in Dublin but currently lived with his parents in Kerry. He had worked for a time in Australia and had in a management position in a hotel on his return here. He said financially Lestrange had nothing to give.