Bray man was ‘out of his head’ dur­ing bur­glary


Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS -

A BUR­GLAR who as­saulted a 74-year-old man and his 40-year-old daugh­ter in his ef­forts to es­cape from their house has been jailed for three years.

Gary O’Brien (20), who said he had been ‘out of his head’ on tablets and Sam­buca, was re­strained on the bath­room floor by the el­derly man un­til gar­daí ar­rived.

O’Brien, of Old Con­naught View, Bray, pleaded guilty at Dublin Cir­cuit Crim­i­nal Court to bur­glary and two counts of as­sault at the fam­ily’s home in Dalkey on Septem­ber 26, 2017.

The court heard O’Brien, who has 49 pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions, suf­fered an ac­quired brain in­jury as a 16-year-old af­ter be­ing struck from be­hind with a ham­mer.

Judge Martin Nolan noted the as­sault per­pe­trated on O’Brien had lead to con­sid­er­able is­sues for him in terms of treat­ment and still caused him prob­lems. He also took into ac­count that O’Brien wanted to re­ha­bil­i­tate him­self.

He said that, de­spite this, it was a se­ri­ous crime and must be dealt with a se­ri­ous way. He im­posed a three-year sen­tence, con­sec­u­tive to a 22-month district court sen­tence that O’Brien is cur­rently serv­ing.

Judge Nolan said the sen­tence would have been longer if it were not for the par­tic­u­lar cir­cum­stances of O’Brien’s ac­quired brain in­jury.

Garda Paul Hughes told John Quirke BL, pros­e­cut­ing, that gar­daí were alerted at 2 a.m. that two males had been at­tempt­ing to en­ter a home.

Gda Hughes was met by two dis­tressed women at the scene, a 70-year-old woman and her 40-year-old daugh­ter. The daugh­ter had cuts to her arm and a bloody nose. She told him her fa­ther was re­strain­ing a male in the bath­room.

Gda Hughes said there was bro­ken glass, pots and fur­ni­ture around the house. He found the el­derly man in the bath­room hold­ing an abu­sive male on the floor of the bath­room.

The daugh­ter told Gda Hughes that she had been awo­ken ear­lier that night by her mother scream­ing down­stairs and came out of her be­d­room to see a male in a grey, hooded top. She screamed and shouted at him to get out of the house.

She strug­gled back down the stairs with the male and her fa­ther came out of his room to help her.

Down­stairs, the male ran to the din­ing room where the strug­gle con­tin­ued, with house­hold items get­ting bro­ken. A sec­ond male be­gan kick­ing at the front door in an ef­fort to get in.

The fa­ther man­aged to re­strain O’Brien, who was shout­ing ‘I will get you’. Gar­daí who had been alerted by the el­derly women were nearby and ar­rived quickly on the scene.

The 74-year-old man suf­fered bruis­ing and cuts to his body, while his daugh­ter de­scribed her­self as feel­ing ‘ bat­tered’ the fol­low­ing day. She said she felt anx­ious and vul­ner­a­ble fol­low­ing the bur­glary, as well as para­noid about safety in the home.

‘I felt the need to scrub every inch of the house, I just wanted him out of the house, in a sense, by clean­ing,’ the 40-year-old woman said in her vic­tim im­pact state­ment.

The court heard there was €3,000 worth of dam­age done to the house.

O’Brien told gar­daí he couldn’t re­mem­ber any­thing about the events. He said he had been ‘ out of his head’ on Sam­buca and tablets. He said he had not gone into the house to hurt the oc­cu­pants.

Gda Hughes agreed with Ro­nan Pren­der­gast BL, de­fend­ing, that it was not a ‘tar­geted bur­glary’ and the oc­cu­pants were not known to O’Brien. He agreed that when the state of the oc­cu­pants of the house was put to O’Brien he could not be­lieve he could have done it.

Mr Pren­der­gast said as a 16-year-old O’Brien had suf­fered a brain in­jury af­ter be­ing hit from be­hind with a ham­mer. He handed in a num­ber of re­ports to Judge Nolan and out­lined O’Brien’s treat­ment at the Na­tional Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre and the on­go­ing care he re­quired.

He said O’Brien, a fa­ther of one, had dif­fi­cul­ties with tablet mis­use and had made at­tempts to at­tend ad­dic­tion coun­sel­lors. He said O’Brien was re­morse­ful and had con­veyed an apol­ogy to the vic­tims.

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