And he has told how the attacker’s associates have been trying to intimidate him ever since the incident.
Gary Clarke, (52) who is originally from London but living in Cork for the past five years, has said he will never forget the night the thugs pulled up outside his trailer and savagely attacked him but vowed that he will not live in fear of .
Mr Clarke, who was recently diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Lupus, believes he was targeted because he lived in a trailer on the side of the road but was not a Traveller, so his attackers thought he was vulnerable.
The three-man gang led by brothers Vincent (25) and Tony Delaney (27), from Bay 5, halting site, Spring Lane, Cork, called to his trailer in Rathpeacon, Co Cork, looking to steal his jeep and break into his trailer at around 3.30am on October 3, 2019.
Vincent came up to the door of Mr Clarke’s trailer to break in.
“He was just about to knock on the door when I opened and said ‘what’s up’. He said ‘you haven’t got a fag mate have you’. I said ‘it’s a bit late. It’s 3.28am’ He walked back towards the car and got into it. Another head came out and started urinating up there. That’s when Vincent Delaney reversed the car back and put it into the side of the trailer.”
Mr Clarke managed to get out of the property but Vincent punched him hard in the face.
“I was stunned for about two seconds and I kicked him back and then Tony came to me from the other side and gave me a punch this side.
“One of them was pulling my hair back and I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t move.
The brothers repeatedly punched Mr Clarke in the face while also ripping his ear lobe. Clumps of his hair were left on the ground in the vicious attack and one of the men held a concrete block over his head and threatened to smash it over him.
“They damaged my right eye, my ears. I had nothing in them but they just ripped them out. They were dragging me from the front door all the way up to the dog pen. I had 20 dreads; all my dreads were on the floor. I didn’t even notice my dreads until the guards came and said ‘is that your hair?’”
The attackers attempted to get into the trailer to steal more items but were scared off when they realised there were dogs inside. “My dogs would have tore him in half,” Mr Clarke said.
During the attack they also realised he had CCTV cameras and threatened him.
“Vincent was saying, ‘don’t you call the guards. Give me the f***ing video tapes.’ There are no video tapes. It’s the 21st century. It’s all in the cloud now. That’s when they were all trying to cover themselves because they realised. They started panicking then.”
The men eventually sped off with his jeep which was later recovered at their halting site.
Mr Clarke didn’t know the men before the attack but he says their associates have been harassing and threatening him ever since.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t get grief off them,” he said.
He said younger associates of the Delaneys have threatened to shoot and stab him and regularly drive up to his trailer in the middle of the night trying to intimidate him. They also tried to intimidate him at his local pub and at other places when he’s out.
“A load of them came here one morning and started throwing bottles at my trailer. I opened the door and you had these langers shouting ‘I’m going to slice you open’. I said: ‘Go on then. Are you finished? Is there anything else you want to say? Drive the f**k on’.
“This was a couple of days before the court case. They were probably trying to scare me off or whatever.
“That was never going to happen. I won’t back down for one of them.”
He said they come by at 2am and 3am in cars blaring their horns outside his trailer.
“I will stand my ground. I will not let any of them beat me, not a chance. I left home when I was 13 years of age. My life wasn’t brilliant growing up. That makes you very headstrong. You fear nothing, you worry about nothing. It’s not scaring me, it’s just very f***ing annoying.”
Mr Clarke said, at one of the court appearances for Vincent Delaney, he brought an entourage of 25 people with him.
“Every single one of them were trying to intimidate me. I come from the east end of London mate, you aren’t going to intimidate me.”
Tony Delaney (27), who committed the attack while out on bail, was sentenced to three years with one year suspended for the attack at a court hearing in 2020.
He had 76 previous convictions for a litany of offences including a number of robberies and violent . In one incident he assaulted two female gardai before coming at them with an iron bar and smashing their patrol car. In another incident he led gardai on a 13km high speed chase before trying to ram their car into oncoming traffic.
They eventually got his vehicle to stop and had to pepper spray him before arresting him.
Mr Clarke said he was disappointed with the sentence. “Back home the boys would have got a minimum of five years,” he said.
However, he was even more shocked when Vincent Delaney appeared in court earlier this month and was allowed walk free after the judge gave him a fully suspended two-year sentence.
“Vincent was the one who did the worst damage. I don’t understand it. I can’t make head nor tail of it.
“I don’t know what was going through the judge’s head. How on earth can you let a man free after that?” he asked.
Mr Clarke said it was mentioned in court that Vincent was a father and a carer.
“If he’s a carer what is he doing out of his house at 3.30am in the morning with his brother coming around here?
“He didn’t care about anybody that night.”
He said he couldn’t understand how a judge could allow someone to walk free after such a savage attack.
“The way I was looking at it was even the judges are scared to do anything,” he claimed.
“She saw all the evidence, the pictures, the video footage, what more do you want?
“She saw exactly what happened. “What is the point in going through the justice system if this is what is going to happen?”
Mr Clarke said while he isn’t afraid of the Delaneys, the attack has changed his life. He stays awake now at night in case anyone tries to petrol bomb his trailer.
“I don’t go to bed at night any more.
“Since that night I’ve sat up all night until 6am or 7am just in case they pay some smackhead to come down with a petrol bomb.
“The slightest spark on anything on this trailer within 30 seconds you’d be burnt to a cinder.”
He said he’s even more concerned that they’d try to do something while he is out but his dogs are still there.
“I’d go off my game, I swear to God, if anything like that happens. I will know it was them.”
Meanwhile, the intimidation has continued even since Vincent Delaney walked free.
“I’m still getting it. Even when the court case was over on Friday, the very next day these young fellas came down in an Auris shouting at me.”
He said he told them to f**k off and mocked them.
“They were saying when Tony comes out, he’ll do this and that. They’re all a bunch of f**king
idiots. Talk is cheap. They wouldn’t come up to my place on their own.
“I’m 52 years of age. They’re only kids compared to myself. You catch me 30 years ago I’d kick the c**t out of them all the way up the road.”
“Look at the age of the young fellas and look at age of me. I said they couldn’t even knock me out. They’re not that tough. They couldn’t even knock out a w**k never mind a person.”