Donegal town man jailed for stabbing uncle

Injured man "only survived because of surgical intervention" - Judge

Staff Reporter


Staff Reporter


Donegal town man jailed for stabbing uncle

A Donegal town man who left his uncle in a fight for life after stabbing him in the groin has been jailed for four years.

Dylan Kilpatrick (22) of  Clardrumbarron, Donegal Town, pleaded guilty to stabbing Michael Callaghan at Kilpatrick’s mother’s house at  Clardrumbarron, on January 6th, 2016.

The stabbing took place when a row between the men broke out after a day of drinking.

Letterkenny Circuit Court heard that Mr Callaghan suffered a serious wound to his upper leg and lost a substantial amount of blood. He was immediately taken to Letterkenny University Hospital before being airlifted to University Hospital Galway due to the seriousness of the injuries.

Mr Callaghan spent ten days in intensive care and underwent two surgical procedures.

The court heard that gardaí in Donegal town received a report of a serious assault at the home of Kathleen Kilpatrick, Dylan Kilpatrick's mother.

Gardaí assisted by the Ballyshannon-based armed response unit attended the scene. Garda Charlie Gallagher told the court that when gardaí arrived, which was 20 minutes after the incident, Mr Callaghan was on a sofa in the sitting room of the house and his sister, the accused's mother, was applying first aid to a large wound to the groin.

There was a large pool of blood.

Mr Callaghan later told gardaí that there had been an argument and a scuffle broke out and he was pushed over a chair. Mr Callaghan then hit his nephew a slap in the face.

Kilpatrick left the room and came back with a knife in his pocket. Mr Callaghan asked him what the knife was for and he said: “We’ll see”.


There was a scuffle and Mr Callaghan pinned his nephew down on a table. Kilpatrick stabbed him on the top of the leg. Mr Callaghan said he hit his nephew “a box” and he stabbed him again.

Dylan’s brother Garrett told gardai the three men had been drinking cider all afternoon. He managed to take the knife from his brother after the stabbing.

Dylan Kilpatrick left the scene and a search was carried out for him locally.

He was arrested almost three months after the incident

The court heard that Kilpatrick had 20 previous convictions which included two assaults causing harm, road traffic offences, public order offences, burglary offences and drugs offences.

The court heard that Kilpatrick had suffered from epilepsy in recent years.

Defence counsel Peter Nolan (BL) said Kilpatrick had grown up in a house where there was abuse of alcohol. His father had died six years ago and he had been taken into care as a child of four. He returned home and was taken into care again aged 16.

Mr Nolan said Kilpatrick came from a broken home and had “an appalling upbringing”.

“Stupid argument”

Giving evidence for his nephew’s defence, Mr Callaghan said he forgave his nephew for what happened.

He said the incident arose from “just a stupid argument”.

“I hit first. I lost my temper and slappd him,” he said.

He said the three men were drinking all day and drank six bottles of cider. There was an argument about money for a bike he was going to sell to Kilpatrick and his brother.

He said Kilpatrick had “gone down hill” after his father died.

The two men had made up since, Mr Callaghan said.

The court heard Kilpatrick is in custody and is due to be released in April.

Judge Martin Nolan said it was undeniable that in Kilpatrick’s mind the incident had been provoked by the behavior of the inured party.

He said the offence was at the very high end of assault causing harm offences as a knife was used and life-threatening injuries were caused.

“He hadn't died but he could have and only survived because of surgical intervention,” the judge said.

The judge said he had to take into account the dysfunctional upbringing Kilpatrick had.

He sentenced Kilpatrick to four years in prison and suspended the last 18 months of the sentence.

The judge said the sentence would have been longer but for the unusual feature of the victim pleading on behalf of the accused.