Irishman who travelled world now afraid here after Limerick attack

A West of Ireland man who, for years, travelled through global hotspots, is now afraid here at home due to an attack carried out in Limerick, a court heard.

Damien Quinn, aged 34, of 7 Shanabooly Avenue, Ballynanty, Limerick, pleaded guilty at Limerick Circuit Court to a charge of robbing the victim, who had parked his Mercedes near the city centre.

During the robbery, Quinn, with an accomplice, jumped into the victim’s car. Quinn, who was in the back seat, put a seven-inch rusty blade to the victim’s neck and robbed him of €70 and a wifi dongle.

The trauma caused to the victim was outlined by State prosecutor, John O’Sullivan, who read out a victim impact statement. The victim said that while he had not been physically hurt, there had been huge potential for injury during the attack, with threats of violence. A knife was held to his throat and this had lasting psychological consequences.

The statement continued: “I have travelled extensively, all my life, to places like Eastern Europe, USA, Lebanon, and Israel and have never done so in fear. However, since that night, I have lost confidence, while driving late at night or while parking up.

“I am always in fear of what might happen. Due to my extreme nervousness, I have changed the security system in my car: The doors lock automatically. For weeks, afterwards, I suffered from nightmares and now I find I am constantly checking windows and doors to make sure they are locked.”

The victim said he liked to help people and had worked with the Samaritans for six years. If he came across a person on the roadside who might need help, he would stop and offer assistance, but now he could not do so as he was too afraid, and this made him feel guilty.

“It’s not a nice way to live,” he said in his victim impact statement. The court heard he was coping with the help of a doctor and medication.

Det Garda Paul Crowley said Quinn had a propensity towards violence and his previous convictions involved one related to an attack on a prison officer, whose throat he had tried to slash using a broken CD.

Judge Tom O’Donnell was told the robbery to which Quinn pleaded guilty was carried out at around 12.50am on March 17 last year.

Quinn and his accomplice were arrested when gardaí identified them after trawling CCTV material gathered from premises near to where the robbery occurred.

Judge O’Donnell adjourned sentence to July 27, and remanded Quinn in custody.


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