A pitiless attacker struck a 50-year-old woman repeatedly in the head with a 2ft machete as he demanded cash writes Liam Heylin.
The culprit was yesterday jailed for six years after the victim said he had seen her as nothing more than a walking ATM.
At Cork Circuit Criminal Court, Brian Veale, aged 31, of Dominic St, near Shandon in Cork City, and originally from Dungarvan, Co Waterford, pleaded guilty to the attempted robbery.
Detective Sergeant Vincent O’Sullivan said Sandra Buckley was walking home from University College Cork to Farranree on the night of February 25, 2015, when she noticed someone following her from the top of Shandon St.
She walked across St Mary’s Rd and on to Redemption Rd, but realised she was in trouble as the man was still following her.
Ms Buckley decided to walk towards a house on Redemption Rd rather than going all of the way home but Veale caught up on her.
Det Sgt O’Sullivan said: “She felt two hands grab her around her neck and throat. She wriggled out of his grip. He said, ‘Give me your money or I’ll kill you’, or words to that effect.
“He punched her in the nose and pulled out a 2ft- long machete and struck her four or five times on the forehead. She became hysterical and two passers-by came along and he fled on foot.”
Ms Buckley had to be taken by ambulance from the scene of the crime.
The following night, the same man was caught after he struck a man and a female American student in the heads with a machete.
Blood from Ms Buckley was found on the blade of Veale’s machete and on the care label of his jacket where he had been concealing the weapon. He pleaded guilty to the attempted robbery of Ms Buckley.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a jail sentence of nine years, with the last three years suspended.
Veale had more than 100 previous convictions, including two related to the machete attack on the other victims referred to yesterday.
Ms Buckley said yesterday that she had been mugged in London years ago — but what Veale did was not a mugging as he would have beaten her unconscious. She feared it would not end, so she screamed. Mr Buckley said he struck her repeatedly in the head with the machete and blood filled her eyes.
Ms Buckley expressed gratitude for Veale’s plea of guilty, which means she would not have to give evidence in a trial.
“I hope he finds his own humanity. His eyes were cold, without pity, and hard. I am angry too that I was treated like a thing. I was treated like a walking ATM. He demanded money and I didn’t have any,” she said.
Dermot Sheehan, defending, said Veale had a difficult background and was addicted to heroin, prescription tablets, and alcohol.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said even after Veale’s release from prison, he will need constant, prolonged supervision both for his benefit and the safety of the community.
This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner..