Man jumped from second floor balcony to escape from attacker

October 30, 2020

A MAN told how he jumped form a second floor apartment block as he feared for his life during the course of an assault.

Anthony McGinley said he felt like he was being beaten ‘for hours’ when set upon by Colin Kelly (pictured above, North West Newspix)  in an apartment in Letterkenny, County Donegal on November 2, 2018.

Mr McGinley said that he jumped over the balcony to escape from his assailant.

Colin Kelly (30), of Bakers Court, Ballyshannon, pleaded guilty to charges of burglary, assault causing harm and criminal damage following the incident at Apartment 12, Railway Court, Pearse Road, Letterkenny.

At 1.48am Gardaí, responding to reports of an assault, were flagged down by a passer-by who encountered a man lying on the ground.

Prosecution barrister Patricia McLaughlin said that Mr McGinley ’was scared for his life and decided to get out’.

After jumping over the balcony railing, Mr McGinley attempted to stand up, but was unable to do so and he crawled to the side of the apartment block.

When Gardaí arrived, a bone in Mr McGinley’s right leg was protruding through his jeans while injuries to his eye, elbow and chest were visible.

Gardaí entered the apartment block and found the door of apartment 12 open. The tv was smashed and the apartment ransacked.

Kelly was arrested at the scene and made full admissions.

The court heard that Kelly, accompanied by a female, arrived to the apartment and Kelly broke through the front door and attacked Mr McGinley. He punched him to the body and the mouth, knocking out his dentures and damaging teeth.

When interviewed, Kelly made admissions that, after Mr McGinley jumped from the balcony, he ‘took anger out’ on the furniture, punched the tv and threw a cistern lid onto the bed.  Kelly told Gardaí that Mr McGinley ‘basically freaked out and jumped from the window’.

Kelly asked Gardaí at the scene: ‘What’s the story if Anto drops these charges?’

The court heard that Kelly came to see another person, who was not in the apartment on the night in question, about a €200 debt.

Mr McGinley sustained major trauma injuries after jumping from the balcony. He sustained compound fractures of his tibia and fibia and abrasions to his chest. He fractured his right orbital bone, three metatarsals and also sustained injuries to his ribs.

Anthony McGinley, leaving Letterkenny Circuit Court. (North West Newspix)

“The beating he was giving me felt like it was going on for hours,” Mr McGinley said in a victim impact statement, which was read on his behalf in court.

“I thought about running to the main door, but I was worried that he would catch up and give it to me worse. I jumped from a two-storey apartment block because I knew that he would catch me. It scared the hell out of me and I was in no shape to defend myself.”

Mr McGinley said he was in a cast for months and was unable to do things he had enjoyed previously, such was running, walking and playing football with his children.

He said relationships with his family became strained and he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder.

“I lost a few family relationships,” he said. “I wasn’t able to do a lot of actives that fathers do with their sons and there are still some that I can’t do.

“I get nervous and agitated around people. I thought that we were friends and I now blame myself for being there. I was scared and I thought the worst.”

Mr McGinley said the incident had left him ‘feeling worthless’ and his statement outlined how an addiction became worse and he was homeless for a time in Dublin.

On the night in question, he said he had consumed alcohol, marijuana and intravenous heroin.

Addressing Mr McGinley in court, Kelly said he was ‘very sorry’. “It shouldn’t have happened,” he said.

Kelly said that €200 had been stolen from his bag around three weeks beforehand and  he attended the property seeking another man who he believed to be responsible for the theft.

Defence barrister, Mr Peter Nolan, BL, said that Kelly, who has two previous convictions, had lived in the apartment for some time when the money was stolen. He said his client acknowledges that his behaviour was ‘reckless and out of control’.

“He is deeply ashamed of his actions,” Mr Nolan said. “This was a chaotic time in his life and he was drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. He was drinking with his girlfriend that day and things got out of hand.

“This kind of behaviour was against his character. He should be given an opportunity to mend his ways, which he is doing at the moment.”

A probation and welfare report said that Kelly, who has commenced an anger management programme, was at a moderate risk of reoffending.

Judge John Alymer said he was concerned that the probation service hadn’t made contact with the mental health service and a reference to Kelly having creased taking anti-psychotic medication.

Adjourning the case to January, Judge Alymer said: “I would like to know what the situation is and there may be a better approach here.

“This is a very serious matter. It is a tall order for a supervisory regime with the probation service. I will adjourn without making a determination on how I will dispose of it until I see if anything arises of a psychiatric nature.”