Man with history of robbing elderly gets five years for assault on pensioner

Man with history of robbing elderly gets five years for assault on pensioner

A man who hit a 70-year-old man over the head with a crowbar and stole his bus pass has been sentenced to five years in prison, with the final 12 months suspended.

James Wall (aged 32) pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to pensioner David Corcoran at a housing complex in Dublin 7 on October 11, 2010.

Wall of Church Avenue South in Rialto, also pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary and theft.

Detective Garda Denis Ellard told Anne Marie Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that the accused pushed his way into his victim's home in a sheltered housing compound.

David Corcoran was being visited by his friend Eileen O'Donoghue at the time.

Wall asked Ms O'Donoghue where her purse was, and she replied that she didn't have any. He asked Mr Corcoran where his money was, and the pensioner replied that he hadn't got paid yet.

Wall then picked up Mr Corcoran's bus pass and said “I'm taking this.”

Mr Corcoran said he attempted to get hold of a crowbar that he kept in his kitchen, but that Wall got there first, took the crowbar and struck him a blow on the head.

Mr Corcoran was stunned and fell backwards. He was bleeding from the side of his head.

Ms O'Donoghue said she was sitting on the sofa when the accused came over and hit her on the left side of her head, near her ear. She was in deep shock and was holding her head, not knowing what to do.

A housing officer for the sheltered accommodation happened to be on location in St Bricin's Park at the time and heard screaming.

He said he saw Wall walking calmly away, noting that he looked like “a drug addict”.

A victim impact statement for Mr Corcoran said he had a large wound on the side of his head. He said since the assault, he spends more time at home and is more apprehensive and nervous.

Eoghan Cole BL, defending, said Wall had written a letter to the court apologising to the victims.

A psychiatric report stated that he is a schizophrenic with a long history of drug problems. Wall has 25 previous convictions, including robberies on two 90-year-old people.

Judge Desmond Hogan said Wall's offences are not based on his mental illness but on his deep-rooted drug problem.

He noted that Wall has a tendency to commit this type of aggravated burglary against older people.

“Attacks on old people carry with them public opprobrium,” said Judge Hogan before he sentenced Wall to five years in prison with the last 12 months suspended.

Wall was also ordered to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for five years post-release, and to undergo a drug treatment programme.

The sentence was backdated to July 31, 2013.

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