Victim impact  | 

Garda who was held down and stabbed by brothers says they tried to 'butcher me like an animal'

At a sentence hearing today, Gda Murphy told the court there was “no doubt in his mind” he would be dead today if it weren’t for the assistance of emergency service colleagues

Gavin Quinn

Peter Doyle

A member of An Garda Siochana told a court that he lives everyday with the memory of the night when two brothers tried to “butcher” him “like an animal”.

Garda Alan Murphy was responding to reports a man had been stabbed in Inchicore, Dublin 8, when he was attacked by Gavin Quinn (28) and Lee Quinn (27).

During the incident, Gavin Quinn pinned Gda Murphy to the ground as his younger brother, Lee Quinn tried to stab the uniformed officer in the eye with a six-inch kitchen knife, the Central Criminal Court was told.

Gavin Quinn, of Tyrone Place, Inchicore, Dublin, later pleaded guilty to assaulting a peace officer in the execution of his duty, contrary to Section 19 (1) of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994, at St Vincent's Street West, Inchicore, Dublin 8, on March 30, 2020.

Lee Quinn, of Keeper Road, Drimnagh, Dublin, pleaded guilty to attempting to cause serious harm to Gda Murphy on the same date at the same location.

Both men had originally been due to stand trial for Gda Murphy’s attempted murder, and a jury had been sworn in.

But they were rearraigned at the Central Criminal Court on March 1 after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) accepted their guilty pleas to the lesser charges.

At a sentence hearing today, Gda Murphy told the court there was “no doubt in his mind” he would be dead today if it weren’t for the assistance of emergency service colleagues from Dublin Fire Brigade, who pulled Lee Quin away from him moments after the knife-wielding attacker had slashed the officer across the head.

“I’d like to thank members of the Dublin Fire Brigade for saving my life and putting their own bodies between myself and two individuals who were trying to butcher me like an animal,” he said as he read out his victim impact statement from the witness box.

“The memory of the incident crosses my mind on a daily basis,” he told Ms Justice Eileen Creedon.

“I can still feel the utter disbelief and shock I felt as Lee Quinn initially struck me with the blade in my stab vest. I can still feel the twist of the blade as it was torn from my head.”

Lee Quinn

Earlier, Garda Superintendent Joe McLaughlin told Anne-Marie Lawlor SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, that Gda Murphy had been responding to reports that a man had been stabbed in the street.

The man in question turned out to be Gavin Quinn, who was lying on the ground injured when Gda Murphy arrived on the scene, Gda Supt McLaughlin added.

Gda Supt McLaughlin agreed with Ms Lawlor that Gavin Quinn began acting aggressively towards Gda Murphy by “shouting at him, raising his arms and posturing”, while members of the public looked on.

Lee Quinn arrived as Gda Murphy was attempting to restrain his brother and grabbed the guard “from behind”, Ms Lawlor said.

Gda Murphy told Ms Lawlor that on arriving at the incident his “first thought” had been to place himself “between members of the public and danger, as any of my colleagues would do”.

He also said he mistakenly believed Lee Quinn had been the person responsible for the injuries inflicted on Gavin Quinn.

“I also remember thinking to myself this individual [Lee Quinn] has just stabbed myself and, as I thought it, an innocent member of the public,” Gda Murphy explained.

“Every day I think of lying on my back with Gavin Quinn disabling my right arm and leg, with Lee Quinn trying with all his strength to bring that knife through my eye,” he continued.

“The thoughts that pass through my mind in that moment are constant companions for me.”

However, Gda Murphy said he refuses to describe himself as a “victim” preferring instead to refer to himself as “a proud member of An Garda Siochana” who was presenting the facts of the case to the court.

He also revealed he has not received any apology from either of the accused and that there has not been any indication of “remorse or contrition” from his attackers.

“Society is better off without their presence,” he said.

Patrick Gageby SC, for Gavin Quinn, said his client suffered a grade four laceration to his liver when he was stabbed before Gda Murphy arrived and was later treated for five days in intensive care as a result. Counsel said the actions of his client were not just “anti-social but irrational” as well.

“Garda Murphy was doing his duty and trying to help him,” counsel said.

Mr Gageby said his client has been “attempting to steer clear of trouble” since the incident and pointed to his record of good behaviour while in prison as testament to this.

He also told the court that Gavin Quinn had been living a “chaotic and anti-social lifestyle as result of a well-established drug problem” prior to his arrest.

Conor Devally SC, for Lee Quinn said his client had rushed to the scene after being told his brother had been stabbed and was “highly intoxicated” when he arrived.

Lee Quinn subsequently exercised “no judgment” when he intervened as Gda Murphy attempted to restrain Gavin Quinn, counsel added.

“He thought he was protecting his older brother. The fact there was a lack of judgment is not an excuse,” Mr Devally said.

Counsel also said he had “little to offer” the court in terms of others who knew “his client in a positive light”.

“He keeps himself to himself,” he explained

Ms Lawlor told Ms Justice Creedon that both accused men had a number of previous convictions.

Lee Quinn, she said, had convictions for making threats to kill and threatening and abusive behaviour in a public place; while Gavin Quinn convictions include assault and the production of a knife.

The hearing was adjourned to July 11, when it is expected both men will be sentenced.

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