‘All I have worked so hard for and the life I loved has been taken from me’

A three-year jail sentence was imposed on an Estonian man who caused life-changing injuries for a Castletownbere man in an unprovoked attack with a glass bottle.

The victim, Kieran Murphy, said he has not been able to work since this happened.

Jaanus Poldme, of no fixed address, was sentenced to four years with the last year suspended at Cork Circuit Criminal Court and told not to return to the town as a condition of the partial suspension for two years after his release.

It was a unprovoked attack on Mr Murphy, 30, on Saturday, April 2, 2016, at The Square, Castletownbere, Co Cork. The injured party had volunteered in a community tidy-up and was strolling back to his car when he was struck from behind.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Murphy said: “At this moment of time I have no idea where my life is going. All that I have worked so hard for and the life I loved has been suddenly taken from me in this senseless fashion by the accused person.

“I hope with that with proper medical attention, therapy and time, I may be able to regain both my physical and mental health to a degree that I can go back to work and carry on with my life.”

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin wondered why the Director of Public Prosecutions had not decided on a charge of assault causing serious harm rather than the lesser charge of assault causing harm.

Mr Murphy’s skull was fractured by the blow from the bottle, which was more than half full and which knocked the injured party unconscious. When he fell to the ground he fractured his jaw on impact.

Garda Martin Hegarty said the injured party had been assisting local community groups in the work for the Tidy Towns competition and a voluntary clean-up had been going on earlier in the afternoon.

As Mr Murphy was returning to his van at 5pm when the accused approached him from behind and slapped the glass bottle against the side of his head. The bottle smashed against the injured party’s head, his skull was fractured, and he was knocked unconscious.

When questioned about the assault, Poldme could not give any reason for why he assaulted Mr Murphy.

The incident was captured on CCTV. Prosecution barrister Siobhán Lankford said that the video of the incident was available to be seen at the sentencing hearing. Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said he did not require to see it.

Defence barrister Peter O’Flynn said Poldme had some history of engagement with mental health services and had come to Ireland from Estonia with his mother.

When the sentence was imposed, Poldme spoke up from the dock and said: “So now I am starting a three year sentence and I cannot go back to the town where I spent half of my life.”

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