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Boozed-up thug who held two men at knifepoint after luring them to a party avoids prison

The young man and his friend said Prokopowicz suddenly demanded they fight and dragged him into the living room space where he punched him several times

Damian Prokopowicz

Eamon Dillon

A booze-crazed thug who lured two young men back to a party where he repeatedly punched them and then held them at knifepoint for an hour has avoided prison sentence.

Damian Prokopowicz (25) pleaded guilty to the unprovoked attack in January 2021 at an apartment in Edenderry, Co Offaly where he was living at the time.

He subjected the pair to the ordeal just a year after he was ordered to carry out community service in his native Poland for robbery and drunk driving.

After his arrest by gardaí he told officers he had come to Ireland to start a new life but “one night of drinking and this happens".

Judge Keenan Johnson ordered tiler Prokopowicz to pay one of his victims €15,000 in compensation in annual instalments on November 1 for the next three years.

The judge warned if he failed to make the payments he could activate a seven-and-a-half year sentence which he suspended for 10 years at a sitting of Tullamore Circuit Court.

One of the young victims suffered a broken nose and had his iPhone taken and wasn’t allowed to leave the apartment for an hour.

The youngster later told gardaí how he and friend and another group of Portuguese people were invited back to the apartment.

After the others left, the young man and his friend said Prokopowicz suddenly demanded they fight and dragged him into the living room space where he punched him several times.

Then he stopped and started laughing but later emerged from the kitchen wielding a knife telling the youngster "no Garda" before throwing the weapon at the wall.

Prokopowicz then poured shots for them but when the two young men said "no" he demanded money and then a bracelet the victim was wearing.

After being punched again the victim tried to leave again but Prokopowicz brandished a pair of scissors at him.

A second Polish man who was in the apartment didn’t take part in the attack but acted as a translator between Prokopowicz and the two young men who are Moldovan.

The second youngster told gardaí there had been no tension before the sudden attack on his friend with Prokopowicz suddenly becoming friendly again.

At one point Prokopowicz pulled the iPhone out of his friend's hand, punched him, then saw he was bleeding and went to get tissues for him.

The pair got out and were collected by one their father’s and the victim who suffered the broken nose used his brother’s phone to alert gardaí after getting home.

Propokowicz was arrested five days later in Rathangan where he was living with a person he was working with.

He admitted the offences and couldn’t offer an explanation to the gardaí when interviewed by gardaí, but apologised and accepted he had carried out the attack.

In a Victim Impact Statement the man who suffered the broken nose said he feels as if he has to constantly blow his nose and may have to get surgery.

He didn’t want the same to happen to anyone else and asked if his attacker could be made pay for the iPhone that was taken.

Judge Johnson said the incident was “very traumatic and frightening” for the victims and was something that should never have happened.

He added that while Propokowicz had expressed remorse from the outset he had not brought any compensation court and “that does not impress me.”

He described him as being of high-risk of re-offending if drunk and ordered he has to refrain from drinking and can be asked at any stage by gardaí or the Probation Service for a urine sample to prove his sobriety.

Prokopowicz, who earns €450 a week, was also ordered to pay €3,000 to the second victim, also in annual instalments.

Judge Johnson said Prokopowicz is “lucky to be walking out of here.”

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