A 73-year-old man phoned his partner shortly before midnight to say he was home safely in Macroom after a day out together but moments later he was dragged from his van and beaten severely for a period of 14 minutes that have changed his life forever.
The culprit was jailed for 13 years today for the serious assault.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed that sentence on Jonathan O’Driscoll, 31, at Cork Circuit Criminal Court of 15 years with the last two years suspended for assault causing harm to Christy O’Callaghan.
Mr O’Callaghan, who is now 75, said he used to have a lovely life – he had been out for a meal that day in Kinsale with his partner, and returned home just before midnight.
Detective Garda Alan O’Sullivan said O’Driscoll with a previous address at Coolcower House in Macroom, was checking the locks on about 20 cars in the Dunnes Stores car park where Mr O’Callaghan parked. He then pulled the victim from his vehicle and beat him severely over the next 14 minutes – that included stamping on his head four times as he lay lifeless on the ground unable to defend himself.
The entire assault was captured on CCTV and showed O’Driscoll stamping on Mr O’Callaghan’s head four times in a five second period before kicking him repeatedly into the ribs with Mr O’Callaghan offering no resistance at all as he was completely helpless and at the mercy of his assailant.
The attack was spotted by a passerby who raised the alarm and gardaí from Macroom were quickly on the scene to find O’Driscoll cradling Mr O’Callaghan in his arms and pretending to care for him as if he had nothing to do with the assault and was instead looking out for him.
However when gardaí searched O’Driscoll, they found he had Mr O’Callaghan’s wallet and watch on his person and he was unable to explain how he had them on him during questioning and he admitted the assault and expressed remorse for it, said Det Garda O’Sullivan.
Mr O’Callaghan suffered several broken bones in his face, a broken collar bone, eight broken ribs, a smashed thigh bone and a collapsed lung and spent two weeks in intensive care and, after spending 11 months in hospital, he had to go into a nursing home as he could no longer look after himself.
Mr O’Callaghan was not in court but in a Victim Impact Statement said, “I had a nice life – I never married and was a private person – I enjoyed working with greyhounds and used to attend the greyhound track twice a week …. I had made a lot of good friends through the dogs,” said Mr O’Callaghan, a champion greyhound trainer.
“Since I was so badly assaulted in March 2019, my life has totally changed ….. Nobody will ever know half of what I suffered – it is absolutely dreadful. Aside from the physical injuries and pain, the loneliness of lying here on my hospital bed is terrible altogether.
“I have lost my friends and sometimes I wish I was dead – you have ruined everything – I wonder did you realise what you were doing. You took away my whole life. I miss the life I had and the person I was. You have no way of replacing my life.
“I was an avid reader – I used to three to four books a week… I can no longer read due to my head injury as my sight is nearly gone and I cannot walk unaided ... I don’t think I will ever be allowed home again unaccompanied and this breaks my heart.”
“You took away my basic human rights,” he told O’Driscoll.
Pleading for leniency, defence counsel Siobhan Lankford SC acknowledged it was a very violent assault but said her client had a difficult upbringing and suffered from depression as well as alcohol and medication abuse.
She said that O’Driscoll had been brought by the gardaí to St Michael’s Psychiatric Unit at the Mercy University Hospital following a psychotic episode two weeks before the assault and he had wanted to stay there as he feared he might harm himself or others but he was discharged after four days.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said, “The consequences have been devastating for this poor man - he has been left in a state of living hell and he realises just how bad his situation is – the simple things of life that he enjoyed are gone from him due to the violent nature of this assault and he will carry this for the rest of his life.”