A teenager stabbed his uncle because he didn't want him to buy heroin for his father, the Central Criminal Court has heard.
The 18-year-old Dubliner, who can't be idenified for legal reasons, threatened his uncle earlier in the day saying: "I'll cut your fucking throat the next time I find out you're giving gear to him."
He told gardai that he later "lost it" and attacked the man with a kitchen knife, stabbing him once in the chest. He pleaded guilty last month to intentionally causing serious harm to his uncle at a house in Tallaght, on August 27, 2018. The injured man has made a full recovery, forgives his nephew and chose not to make a victim impact statement to the court at a sentence hearing today.
The court also heard that due to the treatment he received following the stabbing, doctors found a tumour in the injured man's chest which required medical attention.
Garda Lisa Prendergast told Paul O'Carroll SC for the Director of Public Prosecutions that she responded to a report of a stabbing at a home in Tallaght at about 1.35am in the early hours of August 27, 2018.
The defendant, who was highly agitated, immediately admitted to the stabbing, she said, and told gardai: "I did it, yeah, I did it." He told one of Gda Prendergast's colleagues: "I'm trying to get my father off the gear, but my uncle keeps bringing it into the house, I just can't take it any more."
The injured man had blood on his shirt and showed the garda a puncture wound under his shoulder near his lungs. He said his nephew came into his bedroom and stabbed him once in the chest. He said the boy had tried to stab him again but he managed to fight him off and ran outside but the accused followed him and attacked him again before throwing the knife away.
Gda Prendergast said the accused had also used the injured man's crutch to strike him, leaving him with cuts and bruises to his head. The knife was recovered from a nearby garden the following day. Gda Prendergast described it as a sharp chef's kitchen knife.
The accused's father told gardai that his son had threatened earlier that day to slit his uncle's throat if he bought heroin for his father. He said he spoke with his son and thought he had calmed down but later that night, after his uncle had gone to bed, the then 17-year-old went into his uncle's bedroom and attacked him with a knife.
The father dragged his son from the bedroom while the injured man fled the house.
When questioned at a garda station the following morning the youth initially denied any memory of the incident, Gda Prendergast said, but over the course of an hour-long interview accepted that he was responsible for the stabbing and said: "I wanted to kill him."
He said it was "because of the ould fella and the gear" and added:
When asked if he intended to kill his uncle he replied: "Yeah, whatever will be will be, I don't care if I die or get sent down."
He later said he was sorry and added: "It's not who I am. I wouldn't have dreamed of doing that a few months ago." Gda Prendergast said she believed his remorse was genuine.
The defendant has previous convictions from the Children's court including for assault and for possession of a knife with intent to cause injury. Gda Prendergast said he was known to carry a knife.
The witness agreed with defence counsel Fiona Murphy SC that the teen had a "dysfunctional upbringing". His parents had their "demons" Ms Murphy said, and were both addicted to heroin although his mother has not been using since 2013. As a teenager the boy lived in a house where people were doing heroin and he had few rules or boundaries and was himself drinking and using cannabis.
He had become "master of his own life and things slowly spiralled out of control," counsel said. On the day of the stabbing the boy was "wrestling with his own demons" and had told his father that his "head was melted" and he wanted to see a doctor. He was concerned and crying, telling his father that he didn't think the pills he was taking and his use of cannabis were helping with his ADHD. The witness further agreed that the boy "appears to have snapped" that night when he attacked his uncle. She said that he didn't give any trouble when arrested by gardai and was "very concerned for his father and loved his father."
Gda Prendergast said the accused's uncle has no animosity and has forgiven his nephew. She said that while the defendant can be personable and nice, "his anger is something that has to be watched".
In her submissions Ms Murphy asked the judge to consider her client's age, remorse and that the injured party made a full recovery. She said his upbringing with no rules had led to difficulties and his own intellectual issues caused him problems at school. He "fell in with a crowd he now knows he should have stayed away from," she said and added that he has been able to hold down employment and a job is available to him. He is availing of treatment for his problems, she said.
Mr Justice Alex Owens said that part of the sentence would have to act as a deterrent to people using and carrying knives and said he will pass sentence on April 27.