Five years in jail for frenzied stabbing of GAA star

A Mayo man who stabbed Dublin GAA star Jonny Cooper hours after attacking a taxi driver has been given a seven-year sentence with the final two years suspended.

Five years in jail for frenzied stabbing of GAA star

Mark Lavelle, 32, was on the drug crystal meth when he carried out the frenzied and unprovoked attack.

Lavelle, originally from Bollingbrook, Swinford, but with an address at Basin St, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to the Dublin and Na Fianna footballer at around 5am on September 20, 2014 at Dorset St Upper in Dublin.

He also admitted to the assault causing harm to Thomas Smith at Kennelsfort Rd Upper in Palmerstown at around 2am and to hijacking Mr Smith’s car.

Mr Cooper received nine stab wounds to his forehead, eyelid, and neck area and spent one night in hospital.

He had no recollection of the assault and gardaí were called to the scene after a passing taxi driver noticed the footballer stumbling along Dorset St with his back covered in blood.

Officers followed a trail of blood from where they met Mr Cooper to a nearby chipper and secured CCTV footage from the restaurant.

Lawyers for Lavelle said he suffered from a mental disorder and required anti-psychotic medication. He had been in contact with the State’s psychiatric services since his mid-teens.

His 62 previous convictions include assaults, criminal damage, possession of knives, possession of drugs, burglary, robbery, violent behaviour in a garda station, trespass, public order, and altering a prescription.

Judge Martin Nolan yesterday said Lavelle was a “danger to society” and seemed to be unable to stop himself becoming involved in crime or escape from his psychiatric difficulties.

He said this presented serious difficulties to the criminal justice system which had to use the “blunt tools” available to it such as imprisonment.

Patrick Marrinan SC, defending, said that, for most of his life his client has been homeless, begging on the streets, abusing drugs, or in custody.

He said Lavelle became abusing alcohol at the age of 10 and moved into more serious drugs in his teens. On the night in question he was taking crystal meth, Mr Marrinan said.

Judge Nolan

imposed two sentences of three and a half years to run consecutively. He said this unusual step was by reason of the seriousness of the offences and Lavelle’s previous history. He suspended the final two years of the total sentence on strict conditions.

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