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horror attack Partner of man (73) left in wheelchair after vicious assault says, 'He will never be the same again'

Jonathan O'Driscoll from Macroom, Co Cork was jailed for 13 years for the horror attack on Christy O'Callaghan last week.

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Christy O'Callaghan before the attack with soulmate of 27 years Ann Holland.

Christy O'Callaghan before the attack with soulmate of 27 years Ann Holland.

Christy O'Callaghan before the attack with soulmate of 27 years Ann Holland.

The partner of a 73-year-old man whose head was stomped on four times during a sickening and unprovoked 14-minute beating, has told the Sunday World: "No sentence could ever be long enough for what was done to him."

In an exclusive interview, given after Jonathan O'Driscoll from Macroom, Co Cork was jailed for 13 years for the horror attack on Christy O'Callaghan, the pensioner's partner Ann Holland told us: "People who'd do that, I'd line them up and shoot them.

"There is no excuse for what he did to him."

A heartbroken Ann also told how champion greyhound trainer Christy spent a year in hospital before being moved to a nursing home, where he is now confined to a wheelchair as a direct result of the horrific and unprovoked beating dished out to him by O'Driscoll (31).

"Christy will never be the same again," she said.

"We talk on the phone four or five times every day.

"I haven't been able to go up to the nursing home and see him since before Christmas because of Covid … but he forgets things now and he rarely laughs any more.

"The only hope I have now, because the nursing home isn't the right place for him, is that somehow the council and the greyhound community and the people of Macroom will come together to build him a little place up where he had his kennels.

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Pensioner Christy O'Callaghan in the nursing home.

Pensioner Christy O'Callaghan in the nursing home.

Pensioner Christy O'Callaghan in the nursing home.

"And that maybe he'd come back to himself again if he was living again in a home of his own with a full time carer."

On Tuesday, Det Garda Alan O'Sullivan told Cork Circuit Court how O'Driscoll dragged Christy from his van at the Dunnes Stores car park in Macroom just before midnight on March 21, 2019.

He then threw the pensioner, who was sleeping in his van, around the ground before punching and kicking him during a 14 minute attack which was captured on CCTV.

The footage showed O'Driscoll stamping on Christy's head four times in a five second period before kicking him repeatedly into the ribs.

The attack only came to an end when it was spotted by a passer-by who raised the alarm.

"I couldn't believe it was him at first," Ann told the Sunday World, as she recalled her first sight of Christy at Cork University Hospital in the wake of the attack.

"The thing about it was … all the bones in his face were broken and he seemingly had a big gash in the back of his head.

"His collarbone was broken, his breast bone was broken and eight of his ribs were broken.

"They had to re-break his breast bone to set it and his hip had to be replaced.

"I just couldn't understand how anyone would do that to Christy.

"He'd never raised a hand in anger in his life.

"And if there was a fight, he would just have walked away.

"The guards told me, on the CCTV, when he pulled him out of the van first, Christy walked away.

"But after he searched the van, he ran after Christy and knocked him down and then … and then … to do what he did to him.

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Jonathan O'Driscoll

Jonathan O'Driscoll

Jonathan O'Driscoll

"I said it to [the investigating guard] and I said it to the rest of the guards too, what I would do with all of them is, I would line them up and shoot them.

"There is no excuse! No excuse for what he [O'Driscoll] did to him."

"At one stage they were talking about switching off the life support and I remember saying to them: 'No, Christy will live, he's a fighter.

"But as the days went on I was thinking he'd never wake up, until one day, he did.

"And I must say, the nurses and the doctors and the staff in the ICU were brilliant, I really have to give them that."

Tragically for Christy, regaining consciousness did not signal a return to full health and he is now trapped in a state which Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin described on Tuesday as 'a living hell.' "It's just devastating," Ann continued.

"How could I describe the way me and Christy were?

"Soulmates? That's what we were!"

Ann said their friendship dates back 27 years to shortly after she was separated.

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Victim Christy O'Callaghan was left critically ill after being attacked

Victim Christy O'Callaghan was left critically ill after being attacked

Victim Christy O'Callaghan was left critically ill after being attacked

"When I needed help, Christy was very good to me," she said.

"After I separated I was caring for my mum and I had no money.

"And Christy helped me, he suggested to me if I helped him with the dogs at the track, he'd pay me.

"And I did that because I was in dire straits looking after my mother.

"And,after that, we were at the track almost every night of the week between runner and trials … and I loved the dogs and the greyhound people because they were good people I thought."

Ann continued that although the couple never moved in together, they went on holidays together twice a year, met up two or three times a week, and spoke to each several times a day each day on the phone.,

"Even now, I speak to Christy at least four or five times a day on the phone," a heartbroken Ann continued.

"Sometimes, depending on how he is, I could be talking to him for half an hour or maybe an hour at a time."

Recalling the day leading up to the attack which shattered both her and Christy's lives, Ann said the couple had enjoyed a day out and dinner in Kinsale before Christy drove back to Macroom.

It subsequently emerged that the pensioner, who was not homeless and had an address in the town, had been sleeping in his van and was parking up the vehicle to sleep when he was attacked.

"He rang me and said I got home safely," recalled Ann.

"He said the road was quiet, go way to bed you and I'll talk to you in the morning.

"And seemingly, it was just when he got off the phone from me that your man appeared … and he did to him what he did."

At Tuesday's hearing, the court heard how when gardai from Macroom arrived on the scene, they found O'Driscoll cradling Mr O'Callaghan in his arms, pretending to care for him as if he had nothing to do with the assault.

However, when gardai searched him, they found Mr O'Callaghan's wallet and watch.

Medical evidence was heard as to how Christy suffered several broken bones in his face, a broken collar bone, eight broken ribs, a smashed thigh bone and a collapsed lung.

He spent two weeks in intensive care and after 11 months in hospital had to go into a nursing home as he could no longer look after himself.

"What I don't understand, and I cannot understand," said Ann, " is that somebody can be beaten like that, beaten like Christy was, almost to a pulp, and there's nothing in law in this country that says he must be looked after to get him back to what he was.

"I understand what the guards are saying when they say I should be happy that he [Jonathan O'Driscoll] is now gone off the streets and he can't hurt anyone else.

"And I do appreciate that … but that's no good to Christy.

"There should be something there for him … he shouldn't have to stay in a nursing home, there should be something done, something there to make it possible that he can go back and live in his own home."

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