A drug addict who broke into the home of a 96-year-old man and "savagely" attacked him has been given an eight-year sentence by Judge Donagh McDonagh at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Gerard Meleady (aged 28) of Casino Park, Donnycarney, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, false imprisonment and assault causing harm to Mr Matthias Keeley on July 16, 2004.
Mr Keeley was injured by the knife Meleady was armed with after he put his arms up to protect himself from being attacked.
Judge McDonagh said this was the invasion of a 96-year-old man’s home, "a place where he was entitled to feel secure and safe from the savage assault that was perpetuated on him".
He said the "godfathers of trade" have a lot to answer for after hearing from Mr Luigi Rea BL, defending, that Meleady started using cannabis and ecstasy at 12 years old before moving onto heroin at 13.
Judge McDonagh said Meleady was very lucky he wasn’t facing a murder charge and added that he was duty-bound to protect the public from people like him before sentencing him to eight years in prison but suspending the last year having taken into account his early guilty plea.
Sergeant John Murphy told Mr Luan O Braonain BL, prosecuting, that the victim woke up after hearing smashing glass to find Meleady in his bedroom.
The court heard that after Meleady left the house Mr Keeley got up and tidied up. He didn’t contact gardaí until being advised to do so after speaking to friends the next day.
Sgt Murphy agreed with Mr Rea that Meleady had a long-standing drug addiction that started when he was 12 years old. He accepted that he had taken drugs that night and tried to commit suicide before breaking into Mr Keeley’s home.
Meleady was also jailed for four years in March 2000 for robbing an elderly stroke victim who was on a recovery walk through the Phoenix Park on November 10, 1997. The victim’s stroke had left him paralyzed on the right-hand side of his body from the head down to the hip.
Detective Garda Oisin McGeown told Mr O Braonain in that case that Meleady and an accomplice kicked the victim in the groin after they demanded cigarettes from him and he told them that he did not smoke. They then dragged a coat from him and robbed his Sony Walkman and 80p from his pockets.
Meleady told gardaí he had earlier "scored" cocaine at Fatima Mansions and had taken it in the toilets of St James Hospital Casualty Unit before attacking the elderly man. He said that when the "old fella went down, I was standing over him tripping out of my head".
The court was told at the March 2000 hearing that Meleady was "genuinely remorseful" for what had happened to the "unfortunate and innocent victim", and was then drug-free.