TWO elderly men walking along streets in Cork city in the middle of the day were targeted for violent attacks by a confused man diagnosed with psychosis who believed the strangers might have been sex offenders.
Kyle Duggan, aged 31, of no fixed address was sentenced to a total of 18 months in prison today.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said the defendant’s reasoning was so senseless it was pointless trying to give any rational explanation for his thinking.
Duggan was on anti-psychotic medication prior to the assaults but he decided to come off his tablets.
The judge imposed a total sentence of three years with the last 18 months sentenced and backdated to August 1.
Duggan spoke up from the dock at one stage to say he wanted to apologise to the two men.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of assault causing harm to the men in their seventies who were unknown to him.
Garda Brian Barron testified that the first attack happened at 1pm on March 5, 2018, when a 75-year-old man was standing at the pedestrian crossing by the Gate cinema in Cork.
“He was struck in the back in a kind of rugby tackle that knocked him on to the road. Kyle Duggan left the scene and the assault was not reported immediately. The injured party was brought to hospital.
“At 2.40pm on the same day, a 73-year-old man at Cornmarket Street was assaulted when – without any conversation or engagement – Kyle Duggan struck him in the face with a head-butt,” Garda Barron said.
The man in the Cornmarket Street assault sustained three fractures to his cheekbones.
Again after this assault, Kyle Duggan ran away from the scene.
“His reasons were hard enough to follow. They were a bit all over the place. There was no rational reason for the assaults. He agreed they were completely unprovoked.
“The explanation he gave was bizarre – that they were older men and more likely to be sex offenders,” Garda Barron said.
Dermot Sheehan, defence barrister, said, “The behaviour was not normal, not rational.”
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin noted the link made in the psychiatric report between psychosis and sleep deprivation.
“It might be useful as an academic exercise for some consultant psychiatrist but it is of very little use to the court.”
Judge Ó Donnabháin said the psychiatrist’s explanation for the attacks was lack of sleep.
Garda Barron said “The most concerning thing for the gardaí was the calculated search for how he chose the victims. He (the defendant) said that they were more vulnerable when they were elderly and less likely to fight back.”
Mr Sheehan BL said the accused had been prescribed anti-psychotic medication but had come of it at the time of the assaults.
He had 100 previous convictions including three for assault and three for assault causing harm.
The judge said at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, “With a man of such considerable difficulties you would expect a more coherent societal reaction – he has been this way since the age of 16 – but we are in a position where the only hope for him is the criminal justice system.”