8 years in jail for ‘tor­ture’ of Eva

Woman (89) sav­agely at­tacked in her home

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A MAN WHO ‘ tor­tured’ an 89-year-old woman with ‘out­ra­geous sav­agery and bru­tal­ity’ was jailed for eight years yes­ter­day (Tues­day).

Michael Cash (25), Ash­lawn Park, Bally­brack, ap­peared be­fore Judge Michael O’Shea at Wick­low Cir­cuit Court, charged with bur­glary, false im­pris­on­ment and as­sault caus­ing harm to Eva Sut­ton at 38 Dublin Road on Septem­ber 10, 2016.

Prose­cu­tor Paul Mur­ray said that Cash was one of two men who broke into Mrs Sut­ton’s home and as­saulted her. Dur­ing the fright­en­ing at­tack, they beat her with her walk­ing stick, telling her ‘we could kill you’.

A MAN with 96 pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions was sen­tenced to 10 years, with two sus­pended, for the ‘sav­age and bru­tal beat­ing’ of 89-year-old Eva Sut­ton in Bray.

Michael Cash (25), Ash­lawn Park, Bally­brack, ap­peared be­fore Judge Michael O’Shea yes­ter­day (Tues­day) at Wick­low Cir­cuit Court, charged with bur­glary, false im­pris­on­ment, and as­sault caus­ing harm, at 38 Dublin Road on Septem­ber 10, 2016.

Co-ac­cused Jamie O’Brien (23), for­merly of 6 Hazel­wood, Bray, re­ceived the same sen­tence, handed down last April.

Prose­cu­tor Paul Mur­ray told the court that Mrs Sut­ton was a widow, liv­ing by her­self at 38 Dublin Road, her home for more than 50 years.

She heard a bang and left her room in the early hours of the date in ques­tion. The two men she en­coun­tered de­manded money and jewellery.

They ran­sacked the house, took jewellery and cash, and vi­ciously as­saulted their 89-year-old vic­tim.

They beat her with her own walk­ing stick and held it across her throat, kicked and punched her, pulled her around by the hair, and used dog-leads and belts to re­strain her.

The or­deal lasted one hour and 25 min­utes. They fled the scene and left Mrs Sut­ton tied up.

They went for her, Mrs Sut­ton told gar­daí, and de­manded money and jewellery.

‘ They were vi­cious to­wards me, kick­ing me and try­ing to put the han­dle of my walk­ing stick around my neck.

‘I stopped them with my hand, plead­ing with them not to do it. I was knocked to the ground and left in a sit­ting po­si­tion.

‘I said to them “I am dy­ing, I am dy­ing”, which made no dif­fer­ence to them.’

They asked if she had a safe. ‘I told them “I am a widow and a pen­sioner, what good would a safe be to me?”

‘I was hit on my face with fists and they kicked me on the ground all over my body, in­clud­ing my chest and legs.

‘I re­mem­ber be­ing pulled by their hair by them as they brought me from the hall to the sit­ting-room. I said “don’t do that, don’t do that”. They stopped and started kick­ing me in­stead.

They used straps to tie her up by the legs and arms and shoved her into the sit­ting room.

‘It was a hor­rific ex­pe­ri­ence,’ she said. ‘I thought the time would never go and they said “we could kill you” and “we could shoot you”. This ter­ri­fied me and I could only plead with them. I was so fright­ened.’

In a re­port read out by Mr Mur­ray, the court heard that Mrs Sut­ton was very in­de­pen­dent prior to the at­tack. She had nu­mer­ous in­juries, in­clud­ing bro­ken ribs, a bro­ken nose, punc­tured lung, lac­er­a­tions to the face and legs, and bruises all over her body.

The to­tal value of jewellery stolen ex­ceeded €6,049, of which only cos­tume jewellery was later re­trieved.

The to­tal fi­nan­cial cost, in­clud­ing med­i­cal costs and dam­age to prop­erty, was €23,7800.

In the af­ter­math of the as­sault, dur­ing her re­cu­per­a­tion at Leop­ard­stown Park, Mrs Sut­ton had her wounds dressed daily, and needed help dress­ing. She had dif­fi­culty sleep­ing at night and suf­fered night­mares. She suf­fered bouts of de­pres­sion, anger and not recog­nis­ing peo­ple, all symp­toms of age-re­lated PTSD, the court heard.

She would awake cry­ing out, imag­in­ing the or­deal hap­pen­ing again. Even now, she needs to have the hall light left on, and bed­room door left open.

‘Eva wishes she had died that morn­ing,’ the court heard, in a vic­tim im­pact state­ment read out by Mr Mur­ray. ‘She made the de­ci­sion her­self not to re­turn home. She would have gone mad – imag­in­ing hooded phan­toms re­turn­ing to do their worst.’

Mrs Sut­ton was gre­gar­i­ous and out­go­ing. She lived in­de­pen­dently and peace­fully, en­joy­ing her mem­o­ries and mem­o­ra­bilia, her gar­den and dog.

She still loves to visit Bray, but ‘if she vis­ited home she would have a ner­vous break­down,’ the court heard. ‘She grieves for her home and way of life so abruptly ended.’

Mrs Sut­ton’s brother was so trau­ma­tised by what hap­pened, he has since de­cided to move to as­sisted liv­ing.

Garda Bis­sett told the court that nei­ther Cash nor O’Brien had made any ad­mis­sions dur­ing in­ter­view. ‘Michael Cash an­swered but com­pletely de­nied all in­volve­ment,’ said Garda Bis­sett. ‘He de­scribed the at­tack on Mrs Sut­ton as “sick”.’

Ev­i­dence in the case in­cluded DNA ev­i­dence, an at­tempt to use Ster­ling money in a nearby Cen­tra, and the re­cov­ery of some cos­tume jewellery near Cash and O’Brien in Shankill that morn­ing.

Garda Bis­sett said that Cash had 96 pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions, 29 of those for theft and bur­glar­ies, oth­ers for a col­lec­tion of crim­i­nal dam­age, public or­der, weapons, as­sault, road traf­fic, and court re­lated charges.

Cash was on bail on other mat­ters at the time of the at­tack.

Se­nior Coun­sel Orla Crowe sad that her client wished to of­fer ‘ his pro­found and sin­cere re­morse’ to Mrs Sut­ton. She said that he had been con­sum­ing drugs over the pre­ced­ing day lead­ing up to the at­tack.

Judge Michael O’Shea said that Mrs Sut­ton was ‘a won­der­fully in­de­pen­dent lady, in a po­si­tion to look af­ter her­self ’

He said ‘ this was se­verely and bru­tally in­ter­rupted on the date in ques­tion’.

Cash and O’Brien ‘clearly showed her no sym­pa­thy or mercy’, said Judge O’Shea.

‘She was in a vul­ner­a­ble, help­less, hope­less sit­u­a­tion when the two men en­tered her home.

‘ The out­ra­geous sav­agery and bru­tal­ity they sub­jected Mrs Sut­ton to is unimag­in­able,’ said the judge. ‘What they did to her amounted to tor­ture. They tor­tured this de­cent, won­der­ful, kind lady, for what rea­son? She was frail. What would she do? Ab­so­lutely noth­ing.’



Michael Cash out­side the court yes­ter­day, Tues­day.

Michael Cash is led from Bray court­house fol­low­ing his sen­tenc­ing yes­ter­day (Tues­day).

Eva Sut­ton fol­low­ing the at­tack in her home in Septem­ber 2016.

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