Man jailed for three years following church attack on 80-year-old

Man jailed for three years following church attack on 80-year-old
David O'Donovan at a previous sitting of the court

A Cork man who kicked an 80-year-old man in the groin and then punched him after he was reprimanded by the elderly man for stealing from a poor box in a church was jailed for three years today.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a sentence of four years with the last year suspended in the case against David O’Donovan, 41 who is originally from Monkstown, County Cork.

Defence barrister, Nikki O’Sullivan, said the accused was surprised to hear from gardaí an account of his own actions as he had no recollection of it. He accepted it and pleaded guilty.

The judge said it was cowardly and outrageous to assault the elderly man in church.

The victim, Robert Duggan, told the culprit he was in the house of God and to stop what he was doing.

Detective Garda Padraig Harrington said O’Donovan responded:

“'F*** you and f*** the Church'. He then counted down 4-3-2-1 and kicked him in the groin area. Mr Duggan went down on one knee. He (O’Donovan) knocked his glasses off. He gouged his eye and punched him in the same eye.”

A Polish lady at the mass came to the assistance of the local man attacked by the heroin addict. Det. Garda Harrington said: “The Polish lady later identified him (the defendant) to me at Centra, approximately one hour later." She followed Duggan from the church at a safe distance and saw him enter the shop.

Mr Duggan said previously at Cork Circuit Criminal that in many years volunteering at St Augustine’s church on Grand Parade, Cork, “I have come across people under the influence of drink or drugs and people who are depressed but never anything like this. Thankfully he did not have a knife. I am sure he would have used it if he had one. My glasses fell to the ground during this and he deliberately stamped on them. It knocked my confidence back.”

David O’Donovan was arrested by Det Garda Harrington and brought to the Bridewell garda station for questioning. However, questioning of O’Donovan, with an address at 6 Glendalough, Grenville Place, Cork, was suspended for six hours due to his intoxication.

The detective said that unfortunately, the injured party was not given any medical attention at the Mercy hospital despite waiting for seven hours after that Saturday evening mass. The detective contacted the CEO of the hospital the next morning and she arranged to have the injured party seen immediately.

Nikki O’Sullivan BL said that even though the accused had 22 previous convictions he had none for violence. She said he expressed remorse for his actions and was surprised when it was outlined to him what he had done in the church.

O’Donovan was sentenced on the charge of assault causing harm to Mr Duggan at St Augustine’s church, Grand Parade, Cork, on March 24.

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