Youth spared jail for attack on pensioner

A 16-year-old who attacked and robbed a retired nurse when he was just 14 years of age will not have to serve time in prison.

A 16-year-old who attacked and robbed a retired nurse when he was just 14 years of age will not have to serve time in prison.

The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared at Letterkenny District Court on Monday for sentencing.

He had previously admitted attacking retired nurse Anna McDaid in Letterkenny, on August 17th, 2010. Mrs McDaid, who is in her 60s, was knocked unconscious during the attack, which occurred in broad daylight. She suffered a broken arm and dislocated shoulder.

Her husband, who was in court on Monday, said she still has to attend for medical treament regularly. He added: “She is in constant pain and her life has been turned upside down.”

When the case was first heard in April, the court was told that the youth was in the company of an older man when he carried out the “purely random” attack in which he stole €300.

Defence solicitor Kieran Dillon said at the time: “He came to Letterkenny and had something in his mind. He had no pocket money because his parents had cut it because they were trying to control him.”

The young man had since made a written apology to Mrs McDaid and paid her €500, to replace what he had taken and as a gesture of compensation.

The youth was also in court in relation to a number of other offences dating from April 6th, 2010 to August 22nd, 2010 in Ramelton, Milford and Kilmacrennan. The charges included burglary, theft and criminal damage.

At Monday’s hearing, defence solicitor Kieran Dillon said his client had undergone a profound transformation since committing the offences.

“There’s been a complete change in this young man’s life since these matters came before the court last June. He’s put his life to good use, undertaken a course which will be completed soon and hopes to take up another one. He’s also started playing rugby and is finding the discipline and training excellent. He works out at the gym and is a completely different young man at home.

“This is not to take away from the injured party, Mrs McDaid. We know that the poor woman has suffered. My client has complete remorse.”

He said the report from the Probation Service had recommended his client as being suitable for community service.

Judge Paul Kelly addressed the youth. “You are a very fortunate young man. Mr Dillon has made a very considered and researched plea. These are very serious offences, but everyone who has come into contact with you feels that you deserve a chance to prove that these took place at a time of your life when you were out of control. You will have to make some effort to recompense your victims, particularly Mrs McDaid, who has suffered grievously in this case.”

He ordered him to complete 120 hours of community service in lieu of six months prison. He also put the young man on a probation bond for 12 months, with own bond of €500 and on condition that he does not re-offend and comply with the directions of the Probation Service.

He also ordered him to pay €500 in 10 monthly instalments of €50, so that the victim of two burglaries could be compensated in part for his loss, which was in the region of €2,200.