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Horrified mother Teen who filmed himself carry out 'stomach churning' attack on vulnerable man pleads guilty

The incident took place at the man's Dublin 4 home over three dates, from February 28 to March 1 last year

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Dublin Children's Court

Dublin Children's Court

Dublin Children's Court

A 16-year-old filmed himself as he carried out a “stomach-churning” sustained attack on a vulnerable Dublin man with an acquired brain injury, a court has heard.

District court president Judge Paul Daly said on Wednesday that the victim, who is in his sixties, was “effectively a prisoner for three days of this young man”.

The incident took place at the man's Dublin 4 home over three dates, from February 28 to March 1 last year.

The boy, who was aged 15, at the time, was arrested after his horrified mother went through his phone. She found a video clips her son recorded as he repeatedly attacked his victim.

The man was punched and kicked to his head and body, 12 or 13 times, resulting in a bleed on his brain, the Dublin Children’s Court was told.

The judge was given an outline of the allegations and shown the footage for the judge to decide if he case should remain in Children’s Court or instead get sent forward to the Circuit Court which has tougher sentencing powers.

After noting submissions from defence solicitor Brian Keenan, the judge accepted jurisdiction for the case to stay in the Children’s Court.

The teen, who was accompanied to court by his mother and father, had also offered to plead to guilty to assault causing harm and robbery charges. Sentencing was adjourned for a pre-sentence probation report to be prepared.

The victim remains too anxious to return to his home and is now waiting for a place in sheltered accommodation, the court heard.

Detective Sergeant Derek McGrath told Judge Kelly that officers had been looking for two youths reported missing in the early hours of March 1, 2020. One of them was the accused; he and his friend were known to go to the victim’s home.

Over a period of 12 months, they had befriended the man, described as being trustworthy and vulnerable as a result of a brain injury he suffered as a child.

Gardai on patrol spotted the victim out walking, and asked him about the boys, but he denied knowledge of them and insisted he had to go to a local ATM.

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Gardai brought him to the bank machine but they grew concerned when they noticed dried blood on his face, and they questioned him about his circumstances.

He then told them there were three youths in his house who had refused to leave. One absconded when gardai got there.

Two boys, including the accused, were taken to their homes.

Subsequently, the defendant’s mother went through her son’s phone and found a number of video clips. His family was horrified by the content and brought the phone to gardai.

The videos were played in court.

The first piece of footage showed a co-defendant demand money from the man.

The accused was then seen talking to the victim and subjecting him to punches and kicks as he sat on his chair or when knocked he was to the floor.

In footage described by the judge as “stomach churning”, the man could be heard begging “please, don’t hit me”

A co-defendant could be heard pleading with the boy to stop, telling him “that’s enough”, but he was told to “shut up” and called "faggot".

The co-defendant told him: “You are going to kill him, his eyes are bleeding, you are a killer”. The victim was again heard begging “please” before he was kicked again.

The boy continued to attack the man who sustained a flurry of kicks to the face as he attempted to stand up.

The court heard the incidents began on a Friday night and went to the early hours of Sunday. On the first night, the boys got €50 from the victim. They had a pizza delivered and then went out to buy cannabis before returning to the man’s home.

Detective Sergeant McGrath agreed that the victim had recovered from his physical injuries.

He agreed with defence solicitor Brian Keenan that when questioned, the boy accepted he had been taking his anger out on the victim.

Mr Keenan asked the judge to note that boy had been previously diagnosed with anxiety and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He was prescribed Ritalin, however, he had not been taking his medication at the time of the offences.

He had been in the throes of a significant cannabis addiction. Those two factors played a significant role, Mr Keenan submitted.

The boy had a been placed in a residential treatment centre for his cannabis problem.

He had no excuse for his actions and was ashamed and apologetic, the judge was told.

The teen remained silent during the hearing. He has not come to garda attention since the incident.

Psychiatric reports on him were furnished to court.

Judge Kelly said the case was exceptionally serious. The victim was subjected to sustained level of aggression and violence and the boy had been the main perpetrator in terms of inflicting horrific violence on the man, he added.

The victim, who did not have to come to court to give evidence, will be canvassed to see if he wishes to give an impact statement.

A second youth who pleaded with the boy to stop the attack had a lesser role. On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to robbery, and had sentencing adjourned.

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