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Teen was allegedly part of gang that attacked US grandmother

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Teen was allegedly part of gang that attacked US grandmother

A Dublin teenager cannot remember his role in a drunken gang attack on American tourists which left an 82-year-old American woman in shock and man with a broken shoulder, a court has heard.

One of the tourists, Ryan Dillon (28), ended up in hospital after he went sightseeing in Swords in north Co. Dublin with his girlfriend and her elderly grandmother.

A 17-year-old boy, who is in care, appeared at the Dublin Children's Court for a hearing on his trial venue.

He is charged with violent disorder with at least two other named males and other unknown people, and robbery in connection with the incident at Swords Town Park on the evening of May 2nd last.

After viewing CCTV footage and hearing an outline of the allegations, Judge John O'Connor, held that the case was too serious to be dealt with in the Children's Court and should go forward to the Circuit Court which has tougher sentencing powers.

The boy, who was accompanied to court by care workers, was remanded on continuing bail pending the preparation of a book of evidence.

At 8.45pm, Boston tourists Elaine Berube (82), her granddaughter Nicole Berube (26), and the young woman's boyfriend, Ryan Dillon, went into the park to take photos of Swords Castle. 

The tourists had arrived in Ireland earlier that day to visit relatives in the west but stopped off in the north Co. Dublin town for a meal and some sightseeing.

In an outline of the allegations, Garda Keith Delaney said it was alleged the teenage defendant had been in a group who had been drinking in the park. 

Some of the gang started to stand in with the tourists for the photos and it was believed that this was to distract them, garda Delaney said.

One of the gang snatched a camera bag from them and ran but was chased by Mr Dillon, it was alleged.

“The group turned on him and proceeded to attack him and his girlfriend who tried to come to his assistance. A knife was produced by one of the group in the attack,” said garda Delaney.

The court heard Mr Dillon suffered facial injuries as well as a broken shoulder, and he required hospital treatment. 

Garda Delaney said the man's girlfriend was also punched when she tried to help Mr Dillon, the grandmother was “treated for shock, she is still not great,”.

It is alleged the youths, male and females, acted together with “common design”.

Defence solicitor, Gareth Noble, said that when interviewed the teenager, who had been intoxicated at the time of the incident, he could not recall his level of involvement.

It was accepted that he was present and he told gardaí “if he could remember he would be honest and assist”.

Pleading for the case to be kept in the juvenile court, the lawyer said this would mean a speedier trial.

The defence asked the court to note the teenager had been affected by early childhood difficulties which affected his development.

The teen who has attended addiction counselling went into care in 2014, and his parents had been concerned over his peer group

Judge O'Connor noted the teen's difficulties but refused jurisdiction.

The teenager was remanded on continuing bail pending the preparation of a book of evidence.

An adult male is due to appear before Swords District Court later this month and another juvenile will appear in the Dublin Children's Court in connection with the incident.