A 59-year-old father-of-five who was never in trouble before struck his next-door neighbour in the head with an axe and assaulted the victim’s partner when she tried to protect him.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin remanded John Mullane of 15 Market Place, Kanturk, County Cork, in custody until November 24 for sentencing at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
“I cannot deal with this matter today and I cannot deal with it in an entirely non-custodial manner. No matter what your vulnerability you cannot be protected by someone wielding an axe. This was a completely unprovoked assault,” Judge Ó Donnabháin said.
John Mullane pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing harm to Rami Bassou and assaulting Mr Bassou’s partner Linda Carver.
Mr Bassou said even when he lived in Syria he had never been subjected to an assault before and that this assault on him outside his home in Kanturk had a bad effect on him.
Mr Bassou said he used to look forward to going to work in his barbershop in Kanturk and was happy that he was accepted as a person operating a business in Kanturk, was accepted as a person in the community and really felt part of the community.
“I cannot understand how one man’s actions could take all that from me. Why would a person do that to another person?” he asked in his victim impact statement.
The victim said that instead of feeling happy he has sleepless nights and his family and friends tell him he is no longer the same person.
Linda Carver intervened to get the axe from John Mullane when he attacked Mr Bassou in their front garden and she too was assaulted. She said, “My neighbour threatened to kill me and my partner. He was swinging the axe for me roaring, ‘I will kill you. First I will finish him.’ Everything of what happened that day keeps flashing back.”
John Mullane offered them €2,000 compensation through defence senior counsel Siobhán Lankford today but they said they did not want the money. They asked for it to be given to meals-on-wheels and services for the elderly in the area operated through Mercy House in Kanturk.
Ms Lankford said at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, “My client is extremely remorseful. It is entirely out of character. It was a complete rush of blood to the head.”
Garda Micheál Dennehy said that on a bright summer’s evening on May 12 2019 the two injured parties were painting a fence in their front garden. Garda Dennehy said a child from next door went into their garden and Ms Carver went in to get him some popcorn but the boy got agitated when paint got on his face.
Soon after this John Mullane struck Mr Bassou from behind on the right side of the temple with the axe. Ms Lankford later said it was the flat side of the axe which came into contact with Mr Bassou’s head.