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real fear Five jailed after horror slash-hook and hatchet attack on man as young daughter looked on

The judge said no explanation or reasoning was ever given for the attack

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Five men have received prison sentences for their part in a slash-hook attack carried out on a man in front of his young daughter.

Martin Collins (39) received cuts to his scalp and shoulder and his upper arm bone was fractured in the attack which took place after his car was rammed at the Hartstown Road, Hartstown, Dublin on February 7, 2015.

The victim's young child was seated in the back of the car and the gang of men began attacking the car with weapons, including a slash-hook and a hatchet.

Mr Collins managed to drive away but some of his assailants pursued him and his car ended up crashing on to the footpath. They then attacked him with the slash-hook and hatchet.

Brendan Donavan (30) of Brackenwood Drive, Balbriggan, Dublin, Eddie McDonagh (32) of Hampton Green, Balbriggan, James McDonagh (28) formerly of Bath Road, Balbriggan, Michael McDonagh (36) of Chapel Gate, Balbriggan and James Whelan (30) of Hampton Woods, Balbriggan, all pleaded guilty to affray on February 7, 2015.

The guilty pleas were entered last October after their trial had begun at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, sitting at Croke Park.

At a sentence hearing this morning Judge Elma Sheahan said this was a violent incident where the victim understandably experienced “real and tremendous fear” for his safety.

The judge said the aggravating factors were the seriousness of the offending and the fact that there was a child present at the time.

She said the fact that some of the defendants have previous convictions for violence was also a factor she was taking into consideration.

Judge Sheahan said that all the men were part of the incident though varying roles were played by each of them. She said the roles taken by Donovan, Eddie McDonagh and Michael McDonagh were more significant.

She said no explanation or reasoning was ever provided for the attacks.

The judge noted the mitigating factors were each defendant's guilty plea, their expressions of remorse and the offer of compensation to the victim, even though this was not accepted by the victim.

She said she was also taking into consideration in the case of some of the men were supporting a young family. She noted that Eddie and Michael McDonagh are caring for their elderly parents.

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Sentencing Michael and Eddie McDonagh and on Brendan Donovan, she suspended the final six months of a three year prison term.

She imposed an 18 month year prison term with the final eight months suspended on James McDonagh. She also imposed a consecutive sentence of 12 months with six suspended for a separate offence for production of a metal baseball bat during a dispute.

James McDonagh was on bail for the Hartstown attack when he raised the bat in a threatening manner at two gardaí. John Berry BL, defending, told the court he had been on an alcohol and drug bender and blacked out.

Dealing finally with Whelan, Judge Sheahan suspended the final ten months of an 18 month sentence. She ordered that all the defendants must keep the peace and be of good behaviour for the period of suspension.

The court heard there are others still to come before the courts in relation to the attack.

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