‘Neighbour from hell’ guilty of beating up man in noise row

November 1, 2021

A so-called “neighbour from hell” has been found guilty of a vicious attack on an elderly man after a row over noise on a housing estate in Buncrana.

Carl Ryan denied a charge of assault when he appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court.

During a two day trial, Ryan’s legal team claimed that he was acting out of self-defence after he was approached by a man at his home at Birwood, Buncrana on September 22nd, 2019.

The man who knocked on his door was Peter Deeney, then aged 67, who lived across the road from Ryan, aged 53.

Mr Deeney, who had lived with his wife and family on the estate for 20 years, told how he had been out for some drinks in the local pub and had been collected just after 7pm his his wife Frances.

While having his dinner he noticed a lot of noise coming from Ryan’s house across the green.

He went over to Ryan’s house which the accused shared with his partner Jacqueline Carroll, knocked on the door and then looked in the window.

Mr Deeney then claimed Ryan came out of the house and attacked him knocking him in and out of consciousness.

The victim was taken to hospital where he was treated for multiple facial injuries.

Under cross-examination from Ryan’s barrister, Mr Peter Nolan, Deeney denied that he had started the row.

Mr Nolan asked was it not the case that Deeney had said to his wife that he was going over to Ryan’s house to “sort him out.”

Mr Nolan asked Deeney was it not the case that he was full of “Dutch courage” after taking several drinks.

Mr Nolan added “I put it to you that you said to him ‘What are you doing here you Dublin scum bastards. I’ll burn you out and shoot you?”

Mr Deeney denied this but did admit there had been issues with Ryan before including an incident when a Dublin flag outside his house had been broken.

Neighbour Derek Murphy said he came outside his house for a smoke and noticed Ryan shouting at something black on the lawn and it was only when he put his glasses on that he noticed it was a body.

Mr Murphy said he had not heard any shouting or noise being carried out by Ryan because he had the television on and his curtains were drawn.

Garda Paul Lyons told the court he arrived on the scene and found Deeney on the ground and said Ryan claimed he opened the door and Deeney had kicked him which was denied by Mr Deeney.

He said he fought back and punched Deeney a number of times when he was on the ground but denied that he had used any weapons in the fight.

Ryan’s Partner Ms Carroll claimed that Deeney had earlier closed the window on her hand and it had now swollen which was noted by by another Garda Michael Lavelle who took a picture of it.

Ryan was not called to give evidence in the two day trial.

However, in his statement to Gardai he said he had been living in Birwood for seven years but had been harassed by neighbours for the past year.

He said he thought people had something against himself and his partner Ms Carroll because they are Dubliners.

He said Deeney came to his door and was looking in the window and when he opened the door, Deeney kicked him in the thigh.

However, he denied attacking the victim saying that he must have got a beating on the way home from the pub earlier saying he arrived at his home like that.

“I hit him once or twice maybe as he was trying to hit me. You think I did that? That’s bollox,” said Ryan.

Summing up, counsel for the State, Ms Patricia McLaughlin said it was a sad day when an elderly man could not go over to a neighbour’s house and tell him to “pipe down” because he was making so much noise.

She added that there was simply no evidence that it was Deeney who attacked Ryan as had been claimed.

She suggested it was a “tissue of lies” told by Ryan during interview and the assault.

However, barrister for Ryan, Peter Nolan said any claims that his client was a “neighbour from hell” was simply a character assassination from a television programme.

He asked the jury to imagine if someone in dark clothing came to their door looking in their window and was intoxicated.

He said Deeney knew exactly what he was doing and had told his wife a few seconds beforehand that he was going over to Ryan’s house to “sort him out.”

Mr Nolan added “This was an unfortunate case but I say you have to acquit Mr Ryan on the basis that he was using reasonable force in situation that was unknown to him.”

The jury deliberated for approximately two hours before returning a unanimous guilty verdict.

Judge John Aylmer adjourned the case for sentencing to the next sessions of the circuit court.