Friday, 12 Jul 2024

Woman, 86, shoved headfirst into wheelie bin by man who thought she was trans

An elderly woman was robbed, beaten and shoved headfirst into a wheelie bin by a man who thought she was trans.

Marie MacGowan thought she was going to die during the 42-minute attack in Dublin, Ireland, at the hands of Alex Bailey, 30, on September 1 last year.

Marie became lost on her walk home when she encountered Bailey at about 2am in Ranelagh, a well-kept suburb south of central Dublin.

At the time, Bailey was under ‘the delusional belief that the victim was a predatory paedophile’, his lawyer, Patrick Gageby SC, told the court.

He believed that Marie, who is living with dementia, was a man dressed as a woman.

Bailey knocked Marie to the ground and threw her into a wheelie bin before applying pressure to the lid, CCTV footage showed.

The bin fell over as Marie desperately tried to escape only for her to be punched and kicked by Bailey.

‘I really thought I was going to be dead,’ she told Irish police, known as Gardaí.

Three students eventually passed by and helped Marie, Ireland’s public broadcaster, Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ), reported.

They found Marie shaking and covered in blood, sitting on the curb with her feet stretched out onto the cycle lane.

According to surveillance tapes, Bailey spoke with the students before walking away. He left before emergency services arrived.

Police pinned the attack on Bailey after tracing him back to several pubs in the capital city as he wore the same clothing.

Bailey, of Claragh, Ramelton, Donegal, was arrested 12 days after the incident.

Marie, who lived independently in Cullenswood at the time of the attack, suffered from a fractured nose and blood loss.

Her son, Jack MacGowan, said in a victim statement that before the attack, she was known for her high spirits, independence and her ‘fulfilling social life’.

Yet in the weeks after the attack, she struggled to walk, having lost her sense of balance, and needed four months of 24-hour specialist care.

The incident ‘nearly killed her’, Jack said, adding: ‘It has impacted her life in a major way and significantly reduced her quality of life.’

Marie soon became haunted by her ‘near-death experience’, Jack added, as she rarely slept and experienced regular bouts of shaking.

‘Please stop killing me,’ she would often repeat, adding: ‘Are you trying to kill me?’

She has been moved to a nursing home. ‘Many times,’ Jack added, ‘it seems as if she has given up.’

Bailey pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Marie, causing her harm as well as admitting charges of false imprisonment and robbery.

Last Friday, Judge Crowe jailed Bailey for two and a half years.

Bailey offered Marie €10,000 (£8,700) as a show of remorse – she declined.

Instead, the sum will be donated to the Royal Hospital in Donnybrook where she received rehabilitation treatment.

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