Drugs are no excuse: Judge jails man for 14 years after horror attack on woman, 79, in Cork

Drugs are no excuse: Judge jails man for 14 years after horror attack on woman, 79, in Cork
File and unrelated image of elderly woman in fear in her home

A fourteen-year jail term was imposed today on a young man who robbed a 79-year-old woman causing her horrific life-changing injuries.

Judge Brian O’Callaghan imposed an 11-year sentence on Jonathan Duggan, 29, for the robbery, consecutive to three years for stealing another woman’s handbag. He did not suspend any portion of the sentence at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

“This lady’s life was turned upside down and inside out and every other way you could imagine. By your selfish, greedy actions this lady suffered nothing but horrific and appalling times following your visitation to her on that day.

“There may have been some remorse for the damage you did to his lovely old lady of 79 years of age,” Judge O’Callaghan said.

Detective Garda Alan Johnson who investigated the robbery said the 79-year-old was just walking up to her home in Gurranabraher when Duggan, 29, grabbed her from behind.

She was knocked to the ground and suffered injuries including three broken ribs and four fractures to her pelvis.

Ms Bullman said, “My vocal cords and airway were damaged from the fall and due to deteriorating health I had to undergo an operation to have a tracheotomy tube inserted into my neck so I could breathe properly again. I have this permanently now and it has severely affected my quality of life.

“I am now dependent on my family as I cannot manage my needs on my own. This attack has taken my independence and that cannot be forgiven.”

Niamh Stewart defence barrister said, “He is a young man. He is only 29 years old. At an early age he was been involved in drugs and has been in and out of custody.

“He did this to feed his addiction – a chronic heroin addiction. He apologised to Ms Bullman three or four times during interviews with gardaí.

“He said, ‘It makes me feel sick. I would not want that to happen to my mother or grandmother.’ He is extremely remorseful. I would ask you to give him some light at the end of the tunnel.”

Drugs are no excuse: Judge jails man for 14 years after horror attack on woman, 79, in Cork

Judge O’Callaghan said, “There were no issues in your formative years that would give rise to use of drugs and crime. It seems you had a most loving mother and father. Nothing was contributed by them to your life decisions. Your parents are quite upset to see you where you are.

“You never sought treatment. You have a sense of entitlement from your fellow citizens, that they should be looking after you rather than the other way around. You accept only partial responsibility.

“You justify by saying you were stoned on drugs. You said all you wanted was her handbag and did not push her. You wanted her belongings to maintain your lifestyle and demonstrated poor victim empathy. In conclusion your probation officer said you have not engaged in any effort to break your cycle of crime and drugs. That is a great pity for you and a great pity for your victims.”

Jonathan Duggan from Ballinderry Park in Mayfield in Cork, who already had 31 previous convictions for theft alone, pleaded guilty to robbing her of her handbag and its contents including a Samsung phone worth €300 as well as her purse containing €300 in cash on October 22, 2018. His other offences included the theft of a handbag containing €800 in cash, a hearing aid worth €3,000, a Samsung phone worth €300, car keys worth 300 and house keys worth €100 belonging to a woman at Delia’s Kitchen on Carey’s Lane in Cork on Sept 27, 2018.

Commenting on the theft of that property the judge said one could imagine how the owner felt about “your dirty hands in her handbag fiddling around in her personal items”.

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