A 79-year-old woman visiting her dying brother was attacked and robbed outside her own home, sustaining injuries that have deprived her of her independence.
Marie Bullman was hospitalised for two months for injuries to her neck and fractures to ribs and pelvis and was unable to attend her brother’s funeral after the attack.
Detective Garda Alan Johnson read her victim impact statement at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday as Jonathan Duggan was sentenced to 14 years for several crimes, including 11 years for this robbery at Gurranabraher, Cork, on October 22, 2018.
“I was dropped to my home at 6.30pm and walked up the path to the door,” Ms Bullman recalled.
“I was putting my key in the door when all I hear was two footsteps behind me and someone grabbing my bag and pulling it with one hand while grabbed me by the neck and shoulder and pushed me to the ground.
“I attempted to grab the window sill on my way down but I couldn’t. I couldn’t get up with the pain and began shouting for help.
"Two men passing by ran to help me up off the ground and my neighbour called the ambulance and the gardaí.
“I spent two months in hospital. My injuries included four fractures to my pelvis. I had to learn how to walk again.
“I also had three broken ribs which were painful and affected by movement and breathing.
"My vocal cords and airway were damaged from the fall and due to deteriorating health.
“I had to undergo an operation to have a tracheotomy tube inserted into my neck so I could breathe properly again.
"I have this permanently now and it has severely affected my quality of life.
“I am now dependent on my family as I cannot manage my needs on my own. This attack has taken my independence and that cannot be forgiven.
Due to my hospital stay, I missed my brother’s funeral. He died two days after my attack. I also missed my grandson’s wedding two weeks after that.
“My attack has cost me financially, emotionally and has cost me my good health.
“I have had to leave my home to live with my daughter and her family.
“I no longer see my friends and neighbours. I used to go to bingo weekly and go out socially but I can no longer do this.”
Judge Brian O’Callaghan said that Duggan’s plea of guilty to the offences had spared the victim coming to court to give evidence.
Jonathan Duggan, of Ballinderry Park, Mayfield, Cork, who already had 31 previous convictions for theft alone, pleaded guilty to robbing Ms Bullman of her handbag and its contents including a Samsung phone worth €300 as well as her purse containing €300 in cash on October 22, 2018.
Duggan’s other offences included the theft of a handbag containing €800 in cash, a hearing aid worth €3,000, a Samsung phone worth €300, car keys worth €300 and house keys worth €100 belonging to a woman at Delia’s Kitchen on Carey’s Lane in Cork on September 27, 2018.
Commenting on the theft of that property, the judge said one could imagine how the owner felt about “your dirty hands in her handbag fiddling around in her personal items”.