vicious assault | 

Feuding thug (28) convicted of attacking wheelchair bound victim in Longford car park

The violent attack occurred following escalating tensions between two families in Longford, it is claimed.

Kevin Stokes

Liam CosgroveSunday World

A wheelchair bound man has told a court of how he was violently attacked while sitting in his car during a spiralling dispute between two rivalling families.

Kevin Stokes spoke of the after-effects of having the driver's window of his car smashed in on top of him by Patrick Lawrence (28), from Great Water Street, Longford who was brandishing a golf club.

The incident took place shortly before 4pm on April 15, 2019 at Aldi Car Park, Longford in front of startled shoppers.

Sgt Mark Mahon, for the State, told a sitting of Longford District Court this afternoon of how Mr Lawrence wielded a golf club that smashed the front window of Mr Stokes' red BMW car before assaulting his victim moments later.

The incident occurred barely two weeks before Mr Lawrence and four other co-accused were involved in an alleged feud-linked hit-and-run which left Mr Stokes with significant disabling injuries to his right shoulder, lower back, bilateral hips and right ankle as well as multiple lacerations.

Mr Lawrence was sentenced earlier this year before a sitting of Longford Circuit Criminal Court to ten years in prison, with the final two years suspended for a period of five years subject to a number of conditions.

Mr Stokes, who was wheeled into court by his wife, said had the incident three weeks previously not occurred, he may not be staring at a future of possibly never being able to walk again.

"If it had been stopped and nipped in the bud, I wouldn't have been left in a wheelchair three weeks later," he said, adding that seconds after the incident he almost drove across an innocent bystander while attempting to flee his attacker.

"The glass just went into my eyes and I almost killed a woman who was doing her shopping when I was trying to get away."

"He (Mr Lawrence) was not alone either. There were four or five others there who got away with it."

In defence, solicitor John Quinn said his client had, in fact, armed himself with the golf club after wrestling it off a member of the Stokes family.

It was a claim which was quickly shot down by Mr Stokes, who shouted: "It (golf club) was taken from his father-in-law's van and then the window was broken in on top of me."

In attempting to provide a context behind what led up to the incident, Mr Quinn said there had been ongoing difficulties between both families in connection to an inter-familial relationship that had recently begun.

"This (incident) all goes back to a relationship between the two families and Mr Stokes' wife had taken umbrage at her daughter going out with a member of the Lawrence family," he said.

"Patrick disarmed one of the Stokes with the golf stick and he did hit the window of the car, but any damage done to Mr Stokes was from the splinters of glass.

"He did not strike him with the stick."

Mr Quinn also alleged the car had been driven at Mr Lawrence, adding the fallout between both factions had escalated as a result.

"There has been intense intimidation between the families," he said.

He said his client's release date was May 2028, saying he had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity despite the incident dating back more than three years ago.

Judge Bernadette Owens described the incident as a "very serious matter and a serious assault," remarking that a custodial conviction was required.

She sentenced him to nine months each for the assault and an accompanying criminal damage charge while taking into consideration the production of a golf club charge.

Both sentences are to run concurrently from today's date.

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