Too many Innocent, Decent People, Beaten up, in their own Homes, in Ireland, by Thugs?

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‘Hammer slipped out of my tracksuit bottoms and hit man on the head,’ attacker told gardaí

 8th July 2022

Two raiders who forced their way into a man’s home and beat him with a hammer while his toddler son slept upstairs have been jailed.

The victim, Stefan Hoey, was kicked, punched and hit over the head with the hammer before being knocked unconscious.

The assault happened in his home in Swords in the early hours of April 14, 2018, while he was watching TV with his wife.

Alan Stafford (37), of St Cronan’s View, Swords, and Richard Shaw (36), of Wellview Grove, Mulhuddart, were jailed yesterday for two years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for what the judge said was a “very serious” attack.

Det Gda Suzanne Laffin, of Swords garda station, told the court Mr Hoey was at home with his wife, Amy, when she received a phone call at about 1am from Shaw, who demanded to speak with her husband.

The court heard there was “some measure of conflict” between them over an “inappropriate advance” made by Shaw toward the complainant’s wife some weeks earlier.

Shaw made a number of threats and said he was going to come to the couple’s home.

At about 2am, the defendant and a woman arrived at the house.

Mr Hoey told them: “Get away from my house, this isn’t the time or place.” He also told them his two-year-old son was asleep upstairs.

The court heard Shaw forced his way into the house and he and Mr Hoey became involved in a scuffle before they both ended up on the floor.

The victim said he then “got a belt on the back of the head” and saw Stafford standing over him with a hammer in his hand.

Mr Hoey told gardaí he was struck on the head up to three times and there was “blood everywhere”. He woke up in hospital.

Mr Hoey’s wife gave a statement to gardaí saying she was screaming at Stafford to stop hitting her husband and that when she saw him unconscious on the floor, she thought he was dead.

A medical report outlined the injuries he suffered.

They included concussion, and slight brain injuries that resulted in weakness in his arm.

Det Gda Lavin said Stafford and Shaw were named as suspects and were arrested several weeks later.

Stafford made admissions during interview and said he was “sorry anything ever happened”, but claimed the hammer had slipped out of his tracksuit bottoms and caused the injuries.

CCTV footage from a nearby pub earlier that evening showed Stafford entering the building while armed with a hammer and looking around before leaving.

Shaw also made admissions during interview.

The two accused had been due to stand trial, but entered guilty pleas last December.

The court heard Shaw, who pleaded guilty to assault causing harm, has 12 previous convictions, including for threatening and abusive behaviour, intoxication and drink-driving.

Stafford, who admitted assault causing harm and the production of an article, has no previous convictions.

Noeleen Stafford previously pleaded guilty to common assault and was given 180 hours of community service in lieu of six months’ imprisonment.

Judge Martin Nolan said the attack must have been distressing for Mr Hoey and his wife, and both accused were equally culpable.

In mitigation, the judge said both men had good work histories and were unlikely to re-offend.

He noted that Stafford had put the victim in the recovery position immediately after attacking him with the hammer.

However, it was the court’s view that the accused “both deserve to go to prison for what they did”, and Judge Nolan jailed them for two years.

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