Man thanks assault victim for ‘second chance’ at life

A MAN who walked free from court after beating up a pensioner on Halloween has thanked the 71-year-old man for giving him a second chance at life.

Mark Murphy, aged 21, said he felt deeply ashamed of his role in the beating, which left Mick Leech with two black eyes, broken teeth and a broken nose.

The British pensioner stood up in court this week to ask the judge not to put his attackers in jail.

Mr Murphy, from Lisselton in Co Kerry, rang up the Colm Hayes Show on 2FM yesterday to say how grateful he was to have received a suspended sentence after Mr Leech’s leniency plea.

“I feel badly ashamed about what happened and I’m truly grateful for Mick Leech for standing up in court and saying what he said.

“I got a second chance. I shook hands with the man twice. I genuinely am sorry for what happened and I’m ashamed for my family more than anything,” he said.

“I’m not a bad person. It was just a bad time in my life. I was addicted to drink and drugs but I’m clean now.

“I apologised to him Friday in court and yesterday in court. I couldn’t approach the man before that because I was badly ashamed. It’s not the person I am at all.”

In the court case this week, Charlie Murphy of Athea, Co Limerick, and Mark Murphy from Lisselton in Co Kerry, both pleaded guilty to assault, while a third man, Nigel Brouder, of Athea, pleaded guilty to engaging in threatening or abusive behaviour.

Mark Murphy and Charlie Murphy (not related) received two-year suspended sentences while the Probation Act was imposed on Mr Brouder.

On the night of the attack in 2008, Mr Leech was waiting for his late wife, Kit, to come out of the bingo hall in the village when a firework hit his car.

When he confronted one of the gang of youths he received several punches in the face.

His tooth was knocked out and his two front teeth were badly fractured with one having to be extracted.

His daughter, Helen, who also spoke about the attack on the radio show, said her father had not been intimidated into making his plea for leniency but she revealed there were neighbourly ties between her family and Charlie Murphy’s family.

She said: “He is a very forgiving person and he’s a good Christian. He’s made his decision and he has forgiven them. I can’t say I have.

“He was never approached by anybody and never felt intimidated in the village since then ever.

“I’d like to think they won’t do it again because they’ve seen the pictures of what they did. He’s given them a second chance.

“It was a horrible attack. He was in shock. I’ve never seen so much blood. He wasn’t right for a long time afterwards. He was very quiet.”

She said her father and her late mother, Kit, were both badly shaken by the attack and she believes that her mother’s illness was aggravated by the incident.

On the show, Mark Murphy, who has never been behind bars, said he was convinced he was going to get a jail sentence for the role he played in the attack and said he deserved a custodial sentence.

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