Victim fears for son’s safety after being stabbed outside shop

June 22, 2023

A man who was stabbed in the face in a completely unprovoked attack says he fears for his son’s safety after his attacker told him he was next.

Alex McAnena suffered facial injuries after being set upon as he walked out of a shop in Stranorlar, on April 24th, 2021.

His attacker, Christopher McDaid, appeared before Letterkenny Circuit Court charged with assault causing harm and also producing an article.

McDaid initially lunged forward and head-butted Mr Anena before producing a knife and striking his victim in the face.

Mr McAnena suffered a deep cut on his cheek and under his right eye and also suffered a blackened eye.

McDaid, aged 33, then shouted at his victim that he was going to get his son and put him in the boot of a car.

The victim ran back into the shop and Gardai arrived.

Garda Ronan Morris gave details of the terrifying incident to the court.

He told how CCTV footage from the shop showed some of the incident but not the actual assault although it did show McDaid lunging at his victim before going off camera again.

Mr McAnena did not appear in court but did supply a victim impact statement which was read out in court.

He told that since the incident he has been unable to go and see his son in Belfast as much as he is afraid of waiting at the bus stop to get a lift.

He also said how he lived in fear and was always checking in and around his apartment as he lived on the ground floor and was afraid for his own safety.

He said that since the incident he had seen McDaid, whose address was given as Hillhead, Castlefin on court documents, walking around the town with a hurley stick in his hand.

He added that his main concern was for his son adding that if the issue is not addressed appropriately then he thought McDaid has the potential to “kill someone eventually.”

“I was cut in the eye but next time he could cut someone’s throat,” said Mr Anena.

The court was also told that McDaid has seven previous convictions dating back to 2015 including charges for assault, having drugs for sale or supply, traffic and public order.

The godmother and aunt of the accused man, said she has had a long connection with Christopher McDaid since the day he was born.

His father doesn’t have a relationship with his son and basically doesn’t want anything to do with him.

Since this incident however, she said McDaid has been doing well and has abstained from all alcohol and drugs and is attending AA meetings.

He still enjoys a good relationship with his two children and has been allowed to stay in his grandfather’s home close her as long as he stays clean.

“He is coping very well at the moment and is a changed man,” she said.

The court was told that McDaid has also attended both Whiteoaks and Hope House treatment centres.

Speaking on behalf of his client, barrister Mr Peter Nolan said McDaid had admitted the offence which he admitted was very stupid and something he was ashamed of.

However, Mr Nolan added that his client had been diagnosed with paranoia and had dropped out of school early but had returned to education aged 22 to complete his Applied Leaving Certificate.

He claimed McDaid said he had been attacked earlier on the day of the incident and that was the reason he was at the shop claiming “they play game against me, they’re all against me, it’s their weapon not my weapon.”

Mr Nolan said the reality was that his client had undergone three psychiatric admissions since the incident but the reality was that McDaid was a man with pre-existing psychiatric conditions but on this particular day it had come to a head.

Mr Nolan read briefly from two reports by two different forensic psychologists.

Judge John Aylmer asked if there had been any incidents with Gardai since this matter, Mr Nolan said he was not aware of any but Garda Morris said he could not say.

Judge Aylmer adjourned the case until next week for final sentencing to allow him time to read the medical reports and also to clarify if the accused had come to the attention of the Gardai since.