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Man knocks out cyclist in one-punch Tallaght attack

The incident happened in the Cheeverstown area of Tallaght (Image via Google Maps)
The incident happened in the Cheeverstown area of Tallaght (Image via Google Maps)

A Zimbabwean man suffering from schizophrenia who punched a passing pensioner, knocking him off his bicycle, will be sentenced next month.

Ruzmond Muwaniri (27) is also awaiting sentence for punching a man in the face and smashing his teeth because he mistakenly believed the victim was racially abusing him.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard he had missed several appointments to have his medication injected around the time of the assaults.

Muwaniri, of John McCormack Avenue, Crumlin, Dublin has pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to the two men at separate locations on March 9, 2015 and on May 21, 2015.

Muwaniri has 60 previous convictions, including several for assault. In 2013, he was jailed for two years for severely beating his then partner and throwing an electric heater at her.

Defence counsel, Pieter Le Vert BL, told the court that at some point after serving the sentence ultimately imposed for these offences, Muwaniri would have to be returned to the community and there would need to be multidisciplinary supports in place.

Judge Melanie Greally adjourned the case in custody until next month in order to seek guidance on the mechanics of establishing a dedicated care package for Muwaniri.

Garda Dolores Walsh told Martina Baxter BL, prosecuting, that the 67-year-old pensioner was out for a cycle with his dog and was travelling along Cheeverstown Road in Tallaght when he was punched by Muwaniri, who was crossing the road.

The man was knocked off his bicycle and lost consciousness. He was assisted by a passer by and later woke up in hospital where he was treated for a broken eye socket as well as cuts and bruises.

Muwaniri ran to the nearby Cheeverstown Luas Stop, where he went into some bushes and retrieved a stick. He was seen pacing up and down the platform for about five minutes until the tram arrived. He then got on the tram, leaving the stick behind on the platform.

Muwaniri was identified on CCTV footage and came to Tallaght garda station for interview. He told gardai on viewing the CCTV footage: "It looks like me but it's not me."

Gda Walsh agreed with Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, that Muwaniri stayed on the Luas for about 10 to 15 minutes after the assault and during that time he "stares straight ahead". She agreed that around this time Muwaniri had missed some appointments for his medication to be injected.

She agreed he told gardai that he didn't remember anything and said he would not have done anything like that. He told gardai he felt bad looking at pictures of the man's injuries.

At the previous sentence hearing last November, prosecuting counsel Geraldine Small BL said Mr Aidan Green was on his lunch break when he saw Muwaniri and two other men crossing the road.

As Mr Green passed them Muwaniri punched him in the mouth without warning.

Muwaniri's companions turned to him and demanded to know why he had hit Mr Green. The victim went to the garda station across the road and Muwaniri was arrested a short time later.

Mr Green's top front teeth were broken and he needed re-constructive work to restore them.

Muwaniri admitted the assault and claimed he thought the victim was racially abusing him.

Muwaniri told gardai he believed Mr Green was part of a group of people calling him a "black monkey" and threatening to stab him.

The court heard that some men were abusing Muwaniri and his friends from a van but that Mr Green had nothing to do with them and was nowhere near them.

Mr Le Vert said his client had come to Ireland from Zimbabwe in 2000. He fell into drink and drug use at age 15 and was put out of the family home. At the time of the assault, he was studying computers in Crumlin College.

Fiona Ferguson/Conor Gallagher