Man caught by throat and pinned against wall after confronting thief

A man sitting in the foyer of a Cork city hotel challenged a stranger who stole his bag only to be caught by the throat and pinned against the wall — and yesterday the attacker was jailed for five months.

Judge Olann Kelleher said: “This is a very serious assault. The injured party was grabbed by the throat and pushed against the wall. He was a much bigger man than the victim.”

Judge Kelleher said the maximum penalty for a simple assault is six months. He took into consideration the plea of guilty by the defendant and imposed five months. A concurrent five-month term was imposed on him for the theft.

Frank Buttimer said yesterday at Cork District Court on behalf of John Long, 31, that he remained at the scene to await gardaí when confronted by a member of staff who intervened:

“The injured party was upset by the matter. Mr Long apologised to the injured party and repeats that apology today. It was a random act of opportunism where the defendant observed the bag and he was detected immediately.

He was undergoing some difficulty with homelessness which neither explains nor excused his behaviour but he did what he did in that context.

Sergeant Annmarie Twomey said Long had 102 previous convictions, including eight for simple assault and three for assault causing harm. Judge Kelleher described his track record as terrible.

Long pleaded guilty to charges of assault and stealing a bag from the man at the Clayton hotel on Lapp’s Quay, Cork, on September 10.

Garda Anita O’Rourke objected to bail being granted to the 31-year-old on the basis that the alleged offences were too serious. He was remanded in custody since the date of his arrest.

The injured party was sitting in the foyer of the hotel at 9.20am when a man picked up his bag and walked towards the front door with it. The injured party followed him and said the bag belonged to him. The injured party was pushed against the wall and grabbed by the neck.“He said he was sore and shaken after what happened,” Garda O’Rourke testified.

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