Three-year sentence and 10-year driving ban for man who left 75-year-old consumed by 'panic and fear'

Three-year sentence and 10-year driving ban for man who left 75-year-old consumed by 'panic and fear'

Warren Cross admitted that at Maldren, Ringmahon Cross, Blackrock, Cork, he damaged the front door of 75-year-old Michael O’Keefe’s house, carried out an assault causing harm to Michael O’Keefe on the same date and had a knife on the occasion.

A 75-year-old man said it was not until this late stage in his life that he had seen the face of “pure evil” at his own front door.

47-year-old Warren Cross of Gleann Aras View, Grenagh, County Cork, was jailed for two years yesterday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court for his violent actions.

Warren Cross admitted that at Maldren, Ringmahon Cross, Blackrock, Cork, he damaged the front door of 75-year-old Michael O’Keefe’s house, carried out an assault causing harm to Michael O’Keefe on the same date and had a knife on the occasion.

Garda Paul Lynch said that at 6.35 p.m on November 9 last year the accused arrived at the home of Michael O’Keeffe senior and junior. Garda Lynch said Cross was in an agitated state.

“There was an argument and he pushed both men. He produced a large dagger-type knife,” Garda Lynch said.

Michael O’Keeffe snr. was cut on the finger with the knife. Cross then picked up a concrete flower pot and threw it at the front glass door of the house causing €900 worth of damage.

He drove his car at Mr O’Keeffe snr, missed him and collided with a woman who happened to be in the area. He then drove at him a second time and knocked him down. He also drove his car at a second woman in the area.

He drove on to the neighbouring property of Donal O’Keeffe (brother of Michael O’Keeffe snr.) and he also knocked him down.

Emmet Boyle defence barrister said Warren Cross had a long history of significant mental illness. He continues to be genuinely remorseful for his behaviour, the barrister said.

Michael O’Keeffe snr said, “For the first time in my 76th year I was exposed to pure evil. I was consumed by panic and fear. I felt my heart was about to explode. I thank God every day that he was unsuccessful. He tried to run myself and my son down. I was injured. My brother was also injured. The impact on my family has been profound.

“I would love to get everything back to normal. But that night on November 9, 2019, started a life of hell for myself and my family.” 

The victim thanked gardaí especially Detective Garda Seán Stack and Garda Paul Lynch.

Garda Lynch concluded in his evidence that Warren Cross, “shouted at us on the night to shoot him. He appeared to want to die on the night.”

 He had a particular grievance with members of the O’Keeffe family at that time.

Mr Boyle BL said, “He expressed remorse in immediacy. He is an in-patient at St. John of God’s hospital. He has been there since November 11 2019. Unfortunately, all he can do is express remorse and continue to act properly.

“I ask you to take into consideration his previously blameless life.” 

Judge Ó Donnabháin said, “Prior to this incident, the accused had been an in-patient with St. John of God’s. Doctors found he was not psychotic or delusional.

 “The behaviour was extremely frightening. Mr O’Keeffe snr. described how intent on violence the man was. For a man at a certain age to be exposed to this kind of violence is shocking - the initial assault with the knife, he then discharges a concrete pot at the door, his behaviour in and around the house at innocent bystanders, the injured party was struck by the vehicle and was extremely lucky (not to be more severely injured). 

“Mr Cross was insensitive to doing damage to himself or anyone else.

“He was in an extremely distressed state when guards arrived. When questioned he was cooperative and remorseful. He has seen many life crises but he reacted to this one very badly. It is at the higher end of what might be expected.” 

The judge sentenced him to three years with the last year suspended. A condition of the suspension is not to be within five kilometres of Blackrock for five years following his release. He was also disqualified from driving for ten years.

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