Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020

Man (80) kicked in groin and gouged by addict at Mass

An 80-year-old man who tried to prevent a heroin addict from stealing a Church collection box was subjected to a horrific attack including having his eye gouged, being kicked in the groin and then had his glasses stamped on.

The assault by David O’Donovan (41) on the pensioner only ended when a Polish woman attending Mass bravely intervened.

O’Donovan, of Glendalough, Grenville Place, Cork, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Robert Duggan, who was working as a volunteer at St Augustine’s Church in Cork.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that Mr Duggan, a church volunteer for almost 70 years, heroically challenged a man who he spotted trying to break in to a collection box while Mass was ongoing.

Judge Sean O’Donnabháin was told by Detective Garda Padraig Harrington the incident unfolded at 8.30pm on March 24 last at St Augustine’s Church on the Grand Parade.

Mr Duggan went over to a man interfering with the collection box.

“He said words to the effect of: ‘He was in a house of God and to stop it’. But he (O’Donovan) told him: ‘F*** you and f*** the Church’. He then counted down, four, three, two, one and then kicked Mr Duggan in the groin,” said Det Gda Harrington.

When the pensioner fell to the ground, he gouged his eye and stamped on his glasses.

The defendant, who has a chronic heroin problem, was later spotted by gardaí nearby.

Mr Duggan, who walked to the witness box with the aid of a cane, told the court he had never before experienced such treatment.

“This has knocked my confidence. He stuck his thumb in my eye and he kicked me in the groin. In the past I have seen people with drink, people with drugs and people who were depressed,” he said.

However, he stressed he never experienced anything like the March 24 incident.

O’Donovan has 22 convictions. None, until now, involved any violence. Judge O’Donnabhain remanded O’Donovan in custody to be sentenced on November 23.

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