A man broke into an apartment in Carrick-on- Shannon in the early hours of the morning and threatened one of the occupants, who he did not know, that he would “gut them like a fish.”
Appearing at Carrick-on-Shannon District Court on a plea of guilty was 22-year-old Enda Farrell, Deryherk, Knockvicar, Boyle, Co Roscommon.
He is charged with burglary and assault to Jason Gallagher at 9 Archway Apartments, Main St, Carrick-on-Shannon on Monday, September 23, 2019.
Garda Tom Currid said at 2am on the above date, Carrick-on-Shannon Gardai received a call from occupants of the apartment about an intruder.
Gardai arrived at the scene to find the door kicked in. Julie Crawley told gardai she awoke after hearing a bang and went out of the bedroom to see the accused sitting in a chair with his feet up.
He had a broken mop handle in his hands which he threw at her.
The other occupant of the apartment, Jason Gallagher, then got up and the defendant grabbed him by the throat and said, “If you come near my family again I will gut you like a fish.”
Gardai arrived on the scene and arrested Mr Farrell. He made no admissions under questioning but apologised for his behaviour towards the Gardai.
Gardai found no evidence that there was any history between the parties.
Mr Gallagher attended a doctor and had bruising on his neck, however the court heard the psychological damage was much more long lasting.
In a victim impact statement read in court, he said he has trouble sleeping and is afraid of the dark. He said he had never been more scared in his life, that night.
Julie Crawley, in her victim impact statement, said the incident caused her fibromyalgia to flare up and she barely sleeps now.
She said she cannot stop replaying the scene in her head and “what might have happened.”
She now suffers agoraphobia and has a fear of leaving the house. She also said she dropped out of college and this led to depression.
Judge Kevin Kilrane asked if there was a reason for the defendant’s behaviour.
Solicitor Colm Conway said his client will say he is “not fully aware why he was there.” He had consumed a lot of alcohol and does not know the people involved. The court heard the accused is a final year law student.
Mr Conway said the defendant and his mother did sit down with victims and he apologised, paid for any costs involved and tried to allay any fears the victims have.
Mr Conway said his client has since gone to counselling and is fully committed to treatment. Letters of character reference from UCD and his local community were handed into court. Mr Conway asked the judge not to let this “incident define the rest of his life.”
Judge Kilrane commented “with just a flip of the coin he could have killed him.” He noted the effects on the victims - “two innocent people who did nothing wrong.”
He said it was a “mercy” that Mr Gallagher had not been assaulted “more or worse.” The judge also said he is “in no doubt that alcohol and illegal drugs” were involved.
He said he wanted to see “restorative justice” in play, explaining “it is best he meet face to face with them and explain why he did it and his mental health issues.”
Judge Kilrane remanded Mr Farrell on bail to February 16, 2021 to see how that meeting goes before he deals with the finalisation of the case.
He concluded, “I am not satisfied that he does not pose a risk to the public.”