A 26-year-old has been jailed for five years for mugging a former hurler whom he beat with a crutch just after the victim was discharged from hospital in Cork.
Adam Sheehan from Seamus Murphy Place in Mallow pleaded guilty to robbing 47-year-old Seamus Troy on Railway Lane, off Brian Boru Street in Cork city centre on May 20th last year.
Mr Troy, who won All-Ireland minor and under-21 hurling medals with his native Tipperary in 1989 and 1991, had travelled for an appointment at Cork University Hospital.
He told Cork Circuit Criminal Court in a victim-impact statement how he had caught a taxi back into town so he could get a bus to Limerick when he was approached by Sheehan on Railway Lane.
“I had my bag hanging off my crutches – I could feel a presence behind me and the accused approached me and asked me for money and I replied I am only out of hospital and heading home.”
He told how Sheehan grabbed his bag off his crutches and ran around the corner but when he took out his phone to ring 999 and raise the alarm, Sheehan returned and knocked him to the ground.
“He grabbed one of my crutches and hit me across the face and my head repeatedly. He also hit me across the back. He just kept hitting me. I could feel the blood running down my head and face.
“My whole life flashed in front of my face – he kept hitting me with the crutch until it broke and then he knelt down on top of me with his knee on my neck and started taking money out of my pocket.
“I was weak and had no strength . . . he then dragged me along the street . . . I thought I would never see my family again – I finally built up some energy and started shouting for help to a passerby.”
The passerby ran to Mr Troy’s aid and the gardaí and emergency services were alerted and he was taken to Cork University Hospital.
Three of his teeth were broken in the attack and he had to get 12 staples to a wound on his head while he also suffered injuries to his upper lip and to both eyes in the attack, the court heard.
Mr Troy said that the attack had also had a huge impact on his mental health and his doctor believed he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result and he had difficulty sleeping.
“It’s going to take me a while to get over what happened to me, all because of this assault . . . I have tried to get help but nothing great has happened so far but hopefully soon,” said Mr Troy.
“I have never met or seen the man assaulted me before . . . I would like to thank the man who came to my aid – I feel like he saved my life – only for him, I would be dead,” he added.
Garda Padraig White told how gardaí found Mr Troy lying on the ground covered in blood on Railway Lane before they spotted Sheehan with blood on his clothes nearby.
They arrested Sheehan, who was quite intoxicated, and brought him to Mayfield Garda station for questioning and he admitted mugging Mr Troy and stealing his phone, rucksack and €80 in cash.
Sheehan’s barrister, Peter O’Flynn, said that his client had apologised for what he had done to Mr Troy during interview by gardaí.
Mr O’Flynn said that he was not offering it as an excuse but Sheehan had consumed a headshop drug called spice, thinking it was cannabis. He said the drug was recognised as having psychotic effects on users.
He said while Sheehan had 20 previous convictions including for burglary and arson, he had no previous convictions for such violence and he believed it could be attributed to consuming spice.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said it was an appalling offence where a vulnerable man just out of hospital was mugged in such a heartless fashion and beaten repeatedly with his own crutches.
He said that Sheehan’s behaviour was clearly psychotic on the day and while he may have taken a drug which affected his mood, it did not excuse his behaviour in committing such a violent mugging.
“This was a merciless attack without compassion, necessity or purpose,” he said. He sentenced Sheehan to seven years in jail but suspended the final two years of the prison term.