A robber who attacked his victim with a baseball bat leaving him with two permanent scars to his head was sentenced to four and a half years detention at St Patrick’s Institution at Kilkenny Circuit Court.
After hearing the facts in the case the judge remarked that the defendant, who is considered to be at high risk of re-offending was lucky not to be above a higher court on a murder charge.
James Roche, Hebron Park, Kilkenny was convicted of robbery at Talbotsinch, Gowran on November 7, 2010. Garda Shane Elliffe told the court that at 4.45pm the injured party returned from shopping in Kilkenny. “He saw that the back window of his house was broken. As he moved into the front yard he was struck from behind with a baseball bat and was struck a number of times on his head, back and shoulders. He (the defendant) said to ‘give me the money’. He was on the ground and he went to get the money and the defendant ripped out the pocket and took €500 in cash and a cheque. He kicked the injured party on the ground during the attack. Mr Roche was known to the injured party and was arrested and co-operated fully.
“The injured party sustained two small lacerations to the scalp and bruises to the arms and shoulders. He had a four centimetre wound to the front of his scalp and a four and a half centimetre wound to the back of his head and was left with two permanent scars on his head. Roche apologised to the injured party during the interview. The victim, who was 53 at the time of the incident was in fear for a long time and lives alone in a rural area,” he said.
The court heard that the defendant has 52 previous convictions, including nine for burglary and has come to the adverse attention of the gardai since the incident. The defendant stated that he was under the influence of intoxicants at the time of the incident and has no recollection of the incident. The court heard that when the defendant was arrested he co-operated fully and made full admissions.
A probation report was handed into the court which stated that the defendant is at high risk of re offending and comes from a very troubled family background. Judge Alice Doyle described it as ‘an extremely nasty and cowardly attack’. “Not only did he break in but he struck him (the injured party) from behind and when he turned around he struck him again. When the victim attempted to get money his ripped out his pocket and the bat was also broken (during the attack). He kicked the injured party a number of times while on the ground. He has been given the opportunity of assistance by the probation and welfare services and has been referred to an alcohol treatment programme but he failed to engage with the probation services. He has turned a blind eye to any help offered to him and is therefore high risk. He is lucky that he is before this court and not a higher court. He went to a premises and brought with him a baseball bat. This was a pre-meditated attack which makes it very serious,” she said. She sentenced him to four and a half years detention and suspended the final 18 months for a period of three years.