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Rampaging thug jailed for string of vicious attacks

Rampaging thug jailed for string of vicious attacks

A young man with “a propensity to violence” has been jailed for seven years for an unprovoked and savage attack on a man.

Daniel Martin (21) was also jailed for a stabbing incident on a Luas the previous year and a hi-jacking in Dublin city centre during which he slashed the driver's shoulder with a blade.

The court heard that Martin, who was raised by his grandmother, having been abandoned by his mother as a baby, drank 16 cans of beer in one hour, before he jumped into the passenger seat of Noel Comer's vehicle while it was stopped at traffic lights.

He later told gardaí that he had just heard that his terminally ill grandmother's condition had deteriorated and without her he didn't care about himself.

Martin was arrested in the days after the hi-jacking and was brought before the courts where he was charged with this and the earlier incident on the Luas. Gardaí objected to bail but he was released pending a file being prepared.

The following month he attacked Wayne Donovan in a case of mistaken identity. Martin first swung at the victim with a stick with nails in it before he struck him a second time, cutting the man's little finger.

He then used both a broken bottle and a stick to beat Mr Donovan about the head and face causing large wounds to his face and head. The victim feared he was going to die while he was waiting for an ambulance.

He spent three days in intensive care and lost two pints of blood which required a blood transfusion. He received stitches to a large cut to the back of his head and a deep cut to the left side of his face.

Mr Donovan was released from hospital after five days but there were concerns he had some damage to facial nerves. He has since made a full recovery although he has been left with subtle scarring to his face and the back of his head.

Martin of Rossfield Gardens in Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of a weapon, unlawful seizure of a car, assault causing harm and assault causing serious harm on dates between August 5, 2013 and June 15, 2014. He has no previous convictions.

In April this year he asked for his bail to be revoked and requested a remand in custody because he was worried about not being able to control his anger. He had previously asked to be admitted into a psychiatric hospital but was released after it was deemed he didn't have a mental illness.

Judge Martin Nolan said Martin was in a rage when he mistook Mr Donovan for a man he had earlier had an altercation with and described it as a “savage assault”.

He acknowledged that Martin didn't have a good start in life and now wants to reform and do his best. The judge said he has “demonstrated a propensity to violence” which has escalated.

Judge Nolan sentenced Martin to two years for the first two incidents and a consecutive term of five years for the assault on Mr Donovan.

Garda Seamus O'Donovan told Anne Rowland BL, prosecuting, that Mr Donovan was walking to meet his wife from the Lamp Lighter Pub in The Coombe around midnight when he saw Martin on Meath Street.

Martin was shouting “I am no rat” and carrying a large stick in his hand. The victim continued walking before he was struck from behind and then struck on the finger. The attack continued until Martin ran off.

Gda O' Donovan said witnesses were later able to tell gardaí what Martin had been wearing and what direction he had ran in. He later found the youth in a distressed state, sitting on a footpath and covered in blood.

He arranged for him to be taken to St James's Hospital for treatment and arrested him later that night when Martin became aggressive there.

Gda O'Donovan said Martin later told gardaí he had stabbed a man in “mistaken identity”.

He said he had been out earlier that night and a group of men accused him of being a rat and a garda informer before giving him “a few slaps”.

He later discovered a broken pallet and a bottle and described being in a rage, with a head that was sore from drugs and alcohol.

Martin said he spotted the victim in The Coombe area and thought “it was fella I was on the lookout for”.

He said he hit him in the back of the head and the face with the bottle and when he realised it wasn't the right man, he ran off.

A medical report, a victim impact report and photographs of the victim's injuries were handed into court.

Gda O'Donovan agreed with Giollaíosa O'Lideadha SC, defending, that Martin's father had committed suicide when the accused was five years old after his mother had abandoned him.

He accepted that Martin had a very close relationship with his grandmother but started having difficulties with both drink and drugs at the age of 15.

Gda O'Donovan accepted a suggestion from counsel that Martin was “a decent young person but someone obviously with anger and triggers inside who is dangerous when he has drink taken”.

Martin told gardaí in interview in May 2014 while he was being questioned about the Luas stabbing that he knew the other man. He claimed that man had approached him, carrying a knife and fight broke out between them.

He said the man dropped the blade during the struggle and he picked it up and stabbed him with it a total of three times. He said the row was over a €50 debt and he later dumped the knife in the canal.

Martin told gardaí that on the morning of the hi-jacking he had 15 to 16 beers before he left the house to visit his grandmother in the hospice.

He said he saw a nice car and jumped into it telling the driver he would stab him if he didn't get out. He admitted that he stabbed the man after the man tried to grab the blade from him.

Martin apologised to each of the victims during his interviews and gardaí accepted he was genuinely remorseful.

Mr O'Lideadha said his client instructed that his “whole life fell apart when my Nanny died”

He said Martin had attended counselling while in custody which had helped him.

“He knows he has serious anger problems and that he needs counselling to work out the demons and to stop the drink and drugs,” Mr O'Lideadha said.