A Good Samaritan had his jaw broken in two places when he stopped to help a stranger who had been knocked to the ground during a melee outside a city nightclub.
Surgeons wired the victim’s mouth shut for six weeks after screwing two metal plates into his jawbone to rebuild it following the assault which took place outside Carbon nightclub on Eglinton Street, in the early hours of May 8, 2015.
His attacker, Tom Tyrell (22), from Aughnanure, Oughterard, pleaded guilty to assault, causing harm, when he first appeared before Galway Circuit Criminal Court in March. Sentence was adjourned to last week’s court for the preparation of reports and to give Tyrell time to address the issue of compensation.
Garda Dermot Hardiman said the victim (21), had witnessed a fight in progress as he was leaving a nightclub and he went to assist a stranger lying on the ground.
Tyrell punched him into the face as he did so and he sustained two fractures to his jawbone.
The victim did not wish to attend court but the Garda read his impact statement into evidence on his behalf.
In his statement, the victim said he had suffered excruciating pain following the attack and he had not been able to speak or eat proper food while his mouth was wired shut. He had to sip his food through a straw, had lost a lot of weight and had given up contact sport. His education had suffered and he became depressed and could not work.
He said that Tyrell had approached him outside Supermac’s a few weeks after the attack and had said to him: “I have enough shit to deal with, without you adding to it.”
He said he had been in fear ever since.
“I feel I can never escape that night. I have a constant reminder of it every time I eat or go out,” he said.
Garda Hardiman said Tyrell now worked in stables in Tipperary. He said the accused had three previous convictions for assaults. He had been convicted in January 2016 of two assaults which took place in October 2014. One was a common assault while the other was for a more serious assault, causing harm. He had received a five-month prison sentence which was suspended for two years.
The third conviction was for another serious assault which also took place in 2014 and for which he had also received another suspended sentence. Compensation was paid in all three cases, he added.
Defence barrister, Conal McCarthy said his client had brought €500 to court to offer to the latest victim and if given time he would come up with more compensation.
He said the assault occurred during a melee involving 30 to 40 people who had come out of Carbon nightclub.
Mr McCarthy said Tyrell had not come to Garda attention since that night and the three previous assault convictions occurred when he was 19.
“While he comes from a respectable family, he has been a blackguard and a menace on occasions when he has been drinking, but the Gardai are satisfied he has calmed down in the last two years because he’s in a relationship and his girlfriend has been a positive role model for him,” Mr McCarthy said.
He suggested it was too early for the court to finalise sentence and he asked for time for his client to gather more compensation.
“The victim tried to help a man on the ground and got his jaw broken for his trouble. He suffered a horrible injury.
“This is a very familiar scene; too much alcohol, no self-control and not much in the way of common sense or decency,” Judge Rory McCabe said of Tyrell’s violent behaviour on the night.
He noted Tyrell had previous convictions for similar crimes of violence and another aggravating factor was his lack of self-control due to intoxication.
The judge said the headline sentence for this attack was four-and-a-half years, but he decided to adjourn sentence to next April based on the recommendations of a probation report which and for the payment of more compensation to the victim.
He directed Tyrell come under the supervision of the probation service until April.
“The harsh reality is he needs to convince me that he has changed his ways,” Judge McCabe warned.