Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin noted that Brian Veale was quite capable of using serious violence. He said it was a very worrying matter that such a man would be armed with a machete after taking drugs.
As a result of pleading guilty to this attack on the young tourist and a similar attack on another man moments earlier, a two-year suspended jail sentence from another court was activated.
Taking account of the totality of the sentence, the judge imposed a consecutive term of three years and he also took account of the five months Veale had been remanded in custody on the charges.
Det Sgt Vincent O’Sullivan said at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday that Brian Veale, aged 30, with an address at Dominic St near Shandon in Cork City and originally from Dungarvan, Co Waterford, carried out a robbery and an attack on the 19-year-old American student at Dominic St on February 26.
He also pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to the 20-year-old Corkman who was struck on the head with a machete moments earlier.
Det Sgt O’Sullivan outlined the background to the two incidents.
“Firstly, he followed two men down Dominic St while his face was covered. He was carrying a 2ft machete with an 18-inch blade and six-inch handle. With both hands he swung at the head of the unassuming member of the public, striking him on the back of the head in an attempt to rob him.
“This injured party subsequently had to get 11 staples to his head wound.
“The injured party ran off after being assaulted. The accused then came across a 19-year-old American student who was after coming out of an event at The Firkin Crane with friends and he swung at her head, hitting the side of the head.
“She later required three staples and he left her with a fractured skull. He pulled a handbag off her. He dropped the machete and ran down the street.”
A number of people in the area managed to disarm Veale and hold onto him until the gardaí arrived to arrest him. He had previous convictions for crimes of violence, the detective said.
Defence senior counsel Tom Creed said Veale was a heroin addict at the time, a problem he developed since coming to Cork.
Mr Creed said the accused went out that night looking to get money together to buy more heroin.
He had intended breaking into a few cars parked in the area but instead resorted to the acts of violence described.
In relation to the addiction, Det Sgt O’Sullivan said that the accused was so high on drugs at the time of his arrest that it was some time before he could be questioned in relation to the crimes.
The detective said the two injured parties were entirely innocent people going about their lives that night and were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.