Five year sentence for ‘savage’ stabbing near Limerick city centre

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

A MAN was stabbed in broad daylight on Parnell Street in the city in a “savage and unprovoked attack” by a heroin addict who pierced him in the cheek and neck.

A MAN was stabbed in broad daylight on Parnell Street in the city in a “savage and unprovoked attack” by a heroin addict who pierced him in the cheek and neck.

Judge Carroll Moran has sentenced Gary Whelan, 25, of Shanabooley Road, Ballynanty Beg, to five years in prison after he stabbed a man on October 27, 2011.

Whelan pleaded guilty to assault causing harm while he was on bail awaiting sentence for two burglaries.

State prosecutor John O’Sullivan BL said the injured party had been street drinking with friends on Parnell Street when they encountered Whelan - who was known to them - and two others.

The injured party’s girlfriend told gardai Whelan pulled a knife from his sleeve while another man produced what she thought was a gun. No other person has appeared before the court on these charges. She said Whelan stabbed her boyfriend in the neck and cheek on the right side.

Mr O’Sullivan said it was “a savage and unprovoked attack”, with a large pool of blood at the scene. He was brought for treatment to the Regional hospital having lost a significant amount of blood.

CCTV footage was obtained, however gardai said they couldn’t clearly identify all parties.

Whelan was arrested later that day and admitted stabbing the injured party. He said he carried a knife around with him at all times for his own protection.

The defendant claimed that the injured party had broken a photo frame in his apartment the previous night, but gardai said there was no evidence of this. A knife was retrieved in the stairwell of an apartment in Upper Cecil Street, where the defendant had resided at the time.

His defence, however, said he didn’t “bring the knife into town for the purpose of carrying out the assault”.

Evidence was also given in relation to two burglaries committed by Whelan at Sir Harry’s Mall and at Janemount, Corbally, both in the early hours of January 11, 2011. Whelan has 21 previous convictions for similar offences.

The court heard he has a heroin dependency, is on methadone and continues to seek drug counselling.

Judge Carroll Moran said the only mitigating factor in this case was that he pleaded guilty and made admissions. He imposed sentences totalling six years but suspended the final year.