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Offaly Man Jailed For Two Years For Violent Attack On Elderly Man

The assault had "life-changing" consequences for the victim, a former Dublin footballer.

A man who carried out a violent assault on an elderly man which had “life-changing” consequences for the victim has been handed a two-year custodial sentence.

Nigel McEvoy (46) of Marian Square, Clara, Co Offaly, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Paddy Keogh (then 74) at Mercantile Bar, Dame Street, Dublin on November 24, 2018.

McEvoy has 14 previous convictions, nine of which are for public order offences.

Imposing sentence today, Judge Melanie Greally said the assault was “violent in the extreme”.

She said the victim impact statement showed the full extent of damage and harm caused to Mr Keogh, a man who had “represented his county” in football and had “lived a full life”.

After the attack, Mr Keogh ceased socialising and developed panic attacks, for which he was treated in hospital a number of times. Mr Keogh, now has early onset dementia and is a resident in a nursing home.

Judge Greally said it was “no understatement to say that the impact of this assault was life-changing“  for Mr Keogh and his family.

At a previous hearing, a victim impact statement from Mr Keogh, prepared by his son, stated that the victim was a lifelong GAA fan, who played for Dublin in the 1950s and 1960s.

Prior to the assault he was independent and regularly attended matches but following the assault he became reclusive and has not attended a GAA match since the attack.

The court heard that Mr Keogh was standing at the bar when he noticed McEvoy approach his daughter, niece and his niece’s friend. He believed the women didn’t want the drinks McEvoy was offering to buy them and asked the accused to leave them alone.

Garda Eamonn Moylan told Edward Doocey BL, prosecuting, that McEvoy then grabbed the victim from behind before he punched him in the face, knocking him to the ground. He then put his foot on Mr Keogh’s neck area and placed the whole weight of his body on him. He was pulled off the victim and the gardaí were called.

Gda Moylan told Mr Doocey that gardaí called to Mr Keogh’s home to take a statement in the days after the assault.

He told them he had attended hospital following the assault, but was not kept in. He went to his GP two days later where he was treated for swelling and cuts to his lips and nose. He had also had a tooth knocked out.

Gda Moylan agreed with Amy Heffron BL, defending, that her client had a drink problem at the time and was suffering from mental health issues. The home he was living in at the time was also in a poor condition.

McEvoy has mental health difficulties, including a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Ms Heffron said her client has been engaging with a psychiatrist and has abstained from alcohol since 2019.

Ms Heffron said McEvoy has experienced a “huge change in his life since 2018”.

She told Judge Greally that McEvoy had moved to England in his late teens, working in construction. His mother passed away when he was 19 and McEvoy returned home to care for his father.

McEvoy was hospitalised in 2019 after a deterioration in his mental health. Since then, his circumstances have improved and he has an offer of  art-time work.  He has also married and his wife is pregnant.

A letter of apology from McEvoy was handed into the court. Ms Heffron said her client was extremely remorseful and apologised to Mr Keogh, his family and gardaí for his actions. McEvoy accepted the assault resulted in real consequences for the victim.

He had brought €200 in court as a gesture of remorse, which had been declined by the victim's family, and could instead be paid to charity.

Setting a headline sentence of 48 months, Judge Greally said she accepted that the assault was not pre-meditated, McEvoy had a significant mental health diagnosis, and was not complying with his medication at the time.

She noted several mitigating factors including McEvoy's guilty plea, his expressions of remorse, his limited history of violent conduct, his difficult family background and the positive steps he has taken since since 2019.

Judge Greally imposed a 36-month sentence, with the final 12 months suspended on strict conditions. Judge Greally directed that the €200 gesture of remorse should be donated to the Alzheimer's Society of Ireland.

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