A taxi driver hasn’t worked since being left with serious head injuries after he was attacked outside a church by a man who had consumed cannabis and alcohol and wasn’t happy about the price of his fare.
Denis Creagh (aged 25) of Coolock Village, Coolock kicked Mr Terry Moloney in the head and stomach and bit his cheek in an incident witnessed by a priest .
When Creagh saw Mr Maloney get up off the ground he returned and punched him again. The victim, who suffered a fractured skull and had 12 teeth knocked out hasn’t worked as a taxi driver since the assault and is now on disability allowance. He was detained for three weeks in Beamount Hospital after the assault.
A medical report stated that serious harm had been caused to him and that he temporarily lost some of his brain function. A psychiatric report said he had a pre-existing psychological condition which was exasperated by the assault. Mr Moloney also suffered from post-traumatic stress.
Creagh told Judge Katherine Delahunt: "That night should never have happened and it came at a time when I was not myself". He said his stepfather, who he had thought was his biological father until he was 12 years old, had died three weeks previously.
"I don’t think Mr Moloney or anyone deserves that. I apologise to him, his family and friends," he added.
Creagh pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to intentionally or recklessly causing Mr Moloney serious harm on June 12, 2004 and was remanded in custody for sentence later.
Judge Delahunt adjourned the case to next month to allow defence counsel, Ms Isobel Kennedy SC, to prepare a report for the court.
Detective Garda Shane Davern told prosecuting counsel, Mr Ronan Kennedy BL, that Mr Moloney collected Creagh, his girlfriend and another man from a house in Clonshaugh Heights and pulled up outside St Brendan’s Church in Coolock Village, as directed.
The group were described as being "intoxicated to some degree". The fare was €12 and Creagh’s girlfriend gave him €5 but the two men were claiming that neither of them had the rest of the fare.
Mr Moloney told them to "come on" because he was "very, very busy". He then noticed that the girl was trying to get out of the taxi but there was a problem with her door so he got out to help her.
Creagh got out as well and called him a "filthy pig" before he hit him with "something" in the head and in the stomach.
Mr Moloney fell to the ground unconscious and when he came around Creagh was leaning over him and biting into his cheek. He didn’t tear any flesh but the force of the bite cracked the teeth in his mouth.
Det Gda Davern said Mr Maloney lost consciousness again and when he came around the other man from the taxi had his foot over his windpipe. He blanked out a third time and the next thing he remembered was a fireman coming to his assistance.
Father Frank Corry of St Brendan’s Church told gardaí that he witnessed the whole incident from his bedroom window. He saw "one man jump on" the taxi driver after four people got out of the car.
Det Gda Davern said Fr Corry saw this man attack the driver but the victim later managed to get up after the assault. The culprit had left at this stage but ran back down the road and punched the victim.
Det Gda Davern later called to Creagh’s family home which was just opposite the church. Creagh wasn’t there but later called Det Gda Davern on his mobile and arranged to meet him.
Creagh admitted kicking Mr Moloney once in the head while he was on the ground, kicking him in the face, biting and punching him. He said he remembered looking at the taximeter and thinking "that was too much". He said he told Mr Maloney he was not paying that and handed him €10.
Det Gda Davern said Creagh claimed that Mr Moloney said "that’s it" and jumped out of the car. He thought there was "going to be aggro" and claimed that the taxi driver went for him first.
He said he knew he had "gone over the top" and apologised for the "grief" he caused. He didn’t go out looking for a fight and said that he normally wouldn’t do "that kind of thing".
Det Gda Davern said Creagh had three convictions prior to this matter and 29 convictions since then which were all dealt with in the District Court and included public order, road traffic and drug offences.
Det Gda Davern told Ms Kennedy (with Ms Majella Lynch BL), that he didn’t realise that Creagh had a drug problem since he was 14 years old and added that he asked him specifically during garda interview if he had any addictions but he denied it.
He accepted that Creagh had taken a considerable amount of alcohol that night as well as cannabis.
Ms Kennedy said that Creagh was devastated when he learnt his stepfather wasn’t his biological father. He was equally affected by the man’s death from cancer and had to take a month off work.
Creagh’s mother had thrown him out of the family home shortly after the assault because of his drug abuse. He was now drug free after undergoing a detoxification programme while in custody.