Limerick teen attacked with hammer in row over 'stolen' cocaine


David Hurley


David Hurley

Limerick teen attacked with hammer in row over 'stolen' cocaine

Michael Kirby was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment

A PROSPECT man who beat a young man with a claw hammer before threatening him at gunpoint has been jailed for eight years.

Michael Kirby, aged 33, of Hyde Road, Prospect, pleaded guilty to falsely imprisoning the teenager at his family home on September 14, 2015.

Limerick Circuit Court was told Kirby and another man called to the youth’s home at around 6.30pm claiming he (the teenager) owed a €150 drug debt.

Having agreed to go in a car to “clear his name” the then 18-year-old was taken to an area near Caledonian Field where he was told to return a half bar of cocaine.

Sergeant Brian O’Connor said the youth was accused of stealing the cocaine by Kirby who repeatedly struck him across the leg with a claw hammer.

The victim told gardai that after retrieving a handgun, Kirby walked towards him and pointed the weapon at him.

He described hearing “two clicks” as he was pleading for his life at which point Kirby told him he had no bullets saying: “Only for I’ve no bullets you’d be dead, I would have taken you down the bog.”

Following the incident at Caledonian Park, the youth was forced to climb over a wall at the rear of Kirby’s family home. He was held against his will inside the house and forced to contact another individual.

The two were allowed to leave the house a short time later and gardai were contacted by the injured man’s parents.

John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, said the defendant has a “significant propensity towards violence” and that the motivation for the attack appeared to be a “dispute over a consignment of drugs”.

In a hand-written letter, Kirby apologised for his actions saying he “now fully understands my wrongdoing for the first time in my life”.

He wrote that he regrets his actions and has addressed his drug problems while in custody. 

Anthony Sammon SC said Kirby is “totally committed” to rebuilding his life and intends to never come before the courts again.

Describing the assault as ‘obnoxious’, he submitted the injuries inflicted were “fairly benign”.

Imposing sentence, Judge Tom O’Donnell said the pre-meditated nature of the attack was an aggravating factor.

While accepting that Kirby had pleaded guilty and has addressed his addiction issues, he said a lengthy prison sentence was still warranted.