Two men have been jailed for a savage attack on a “vulnerable” man during which they beat and kicked him and robbed him of just €4.
Judge John Aylmer said the victim was in genuine fear for his life when set upon in an unprovoked attack outside a Letterkenny supermarket.
Thugs Patrick Sweeney, 20, and Stephen Scott, 25, chased the man, 53, dragged him to the ground and then launched a brutal attack on him at Simpson’s Supermarket in Letterkenny.
Having watched CCTV footage of the attack, Judge Aylmer said the video made for shocking viewing.
He said it was only by an extraordinary chance the victim survived the beating with no major injuries.
Sweeney and Scott can be seen pulling their target to the ground before dancing on him and then kicking him repeatedly on the ground for up to 40 seconds.
They then go through his pockets, take his money and walk off casually.
Scott and his co-accused Sweeney appeared before Letterkenny Circuit Court charged with robbing the victim.
The court heard how the pair had been drinking heavily on the evening they attacked and robbed Mr Byrne on October 28th, last year.
Footage from CCTV cameras showed clear images of the horrific mugging which took place just after 9pm.
The victim eventually managed to get up off the ground and was helped by shocked passers-by.
Garda Frank McDaid told the court that a member of the public had contacted Letterkenny Garda station to say a man was being mugged.
They arrived five minutes later and although they found blood on the ground, there was no victim in sight.
Garda McDaid called to Simpson’s Supermarket the next day to gather CCTV footage and happened to come across the victim.
He admitted he had been attacked the previous night and Gardai took him to Letterkenny University Hospital for treatment.
The victim had not contacted Gardai and did not visit the hospital after the attack.
“I didn’t want to waste their time and I’m okay overall,” he told Gardai.
A statement from Dr Adam Leslie Howard said the victim had received multiple injuries including wounds on his head, arms and shoulders after being struck multiple times during an attack.
Barrister for Scott, of Meadowbank, Letterkenny, Ms Fiona Crawford, said her client had a severe issue with alcohol and drugs.
She added that her client was due to start a rehabilitation course days after this incident and had gone on a drink and drugs binge.
Scott took to the witness stand where he apologised to his victim.
Barrister for Sweeney, of Birchill Upper, Letterkenny, Mr Peter Nolan said the CCTV fitness shown in court was truly appalling.
“The day we all stop being shocked by footage like that is the day we all need to give up,” he said.
He added that his client also had a drink problem.
Sweeney himself took to the stand to apologise to Mr Byrne who was not in court and who declined to give a victim impact statement.
He said “We all seen CCTV footage – what happened to this man should not have happened to anyone. I’d like to say sorry and it should never have happened. When I saw it I felt guilty because I know what happened to this man should never happen to anyone.
“I have remorse. On that night I knew I had done something but I was heavily intoxicated and that’s why I handed myself into the barracks.
“I have trouble sleeping thinking about what I done. The only time I don’t think about it is when I’m studying in school.”
Passing sentence, Judge Aylmer said the attack, which showed an “extreme and dangerous level of violence in a sustained manner” deserved sentences of five years in prison.
However, he had to take into consideration the guilty plea and the fact that Sweeney had no previous convictions before the attack.
He jailed Scott for 3 years and four months, backdated the sentence until when he went into custody last November and suspended the final sixteen months of the sentence.
He then jailed Sweeney for two and a half years, also backdated the sentence until last November and suspended the final 12 months.
The men’s families waved at them as they were led away to begin their sentences.