A Ballybofey man viciously attacked a man with a claw hammer in a bar and then threw the weapon in the River Finn.

Robert ‘Rab’ Connell walked casually into Junction 15 on May 16th last and proceeded to batter Damian Woods around the head in front of his hysterical girlfriend.

Connell, 46, hit his victim five times in the head in front of a number of other patrons.

He was then wrestled off the victim and he ran out a side door of the bar and threw the attack weapon in the nearby River Finn.

He then rushed home and put his blood-soaked clothing in his washing machine to clean them.

Letterkenny Circuit Court heard how he thought Mr Woods was one of a number of men who had previously attacked him and beat him up at Drumboe Woods.

Mr Woods was rushed to hospital and had to receive 28 stiches for various wounds to his head and also suffered a fractured skull.

Connell, of 2 Sessiagh View, said he had never planned to attack Woods but had been on his way to get a Chinese meal.

He had been drinking and smoking herbal cannabis and just happened to look inside Junction 15 bar and saw Woods in there.

Connell said he had been thinking of “yer man’ and decided to take a hammer to town with him up his sleeve.

Judge John O’Hagan said this was a savage attack and noted that 90% of offences in Donegal are Section 3 Non Fatal assaults.

“Mr Connell wants me to believe that he went to town and just happened to have a hammer and just happened to meet Mr Woods.

“He didn’t like the area and needed a hammer for his protection. That’s a tall one to accept

“People fore themselves up on drink and drugs and think they are the rulers of the world and think they can do what they want but, I’m sorry, they can’t,” he said

Judge O’Hagan told O’Hagan he would be facing three years in jail if he had not pleaded guilty.

He remanded him in custody until Friday to make a decision on his sentence.

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