Thursday 27 October 2016

Eight years for man who left barber fighting for his life in 'racist' attack

Chris Collins at Cork Court
Chris Collins at Cork Court

A MAN who left a Turkish barber fighting for his life after head-butting him in an unprovoked attack with racist overtones, has been jailed for eight years.

Chris Collins (24) attacked Sherzad Ismail just five seconds after the barber and a friend had stopped outside a pub in Cork city centre to talk to Collins' girlfriend.

Collins, of Mill House, Murphy's Rock, Mallow Road, Cork, pleaded guilty before the Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Mr Ismail on September 7, 2014.

The barber, who was out celebrating a new job, had only been made an Irish citizen six months beforehand.

Mr Ismail was knocked unconscious by the force of the head-butt and collapsed onto the Oliver Plunkett Street pavement.

The sound of the 'thud' from the headbutt and the 'crack' as the barber hit the pavement was loud enough to alert security staff at a nearby nightclub.

The barber was assisted and, when he regained consciousness, offered a drink of water.

He later went home where his partner, Christine Mullins, said she initially thought he was simply under the weather.

However, her daughter later alerted her mother to the fact Sherzad had not woken up and had gotten sick.

He was rushed to Cork University Hospital (CUH) where he was diagnosed with a clot and bleeding on the brain.

Christine fought back tears as she said doctors only ranked his chances of recovery at 50pc.

Mr Ismail was in a medically induced coma on a life-support machine for a week.

Christine delivered the victim impact statement in court as Sherzad felt unable to do so.

"Sherzad was very confused and upset at first," his partner explained.

"Our whole life changed. I found it difficult to see him crying. [He had] huge mood swings. He could not do the work that he wanted to do."

At times, she said he believes he can feel the special screws inserted into his skull move.

"It is a living nightmare for us. This unprovoked attack has devastated our lives," she said.

"We just hope that the accused person will have learned a valuable lesson about such unprovoked attacks."


Collins apologised for the attack and told the judge he "didn't mean to cause him that much harm".

Judge Donagh McDonagh was told the entire attack was caught on CCTV security camera footage.

Collins has a total of 15 previous convictions including one for assault where he head-butted a Cork nightclub doorman.

The defendant offered €4,000 compensation to Mr Ismail.

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