I thought I'd have heart attack, says man left with fractured skull in attack
A Dublin man who suffered a fractured skull after he confronted thugs who set his wheelie bin on fire has revealed how he pleaded for mercy because of his bad heart.
Aidan Mullen (57) was asleep in his bed at around 10pm on July 2011 when he was awoken by his wife to tell him their bin had been taken by a group of teenagers.
Instinctively, Mr Mullen - who had been previously diagnosed with a serious heart condition - rushed out of the door of his Kinsealy home to try and recover the bin.
However, instead of giving him back his bin, the gang turned on him and subjected him to a savage assault.
His attackers repeatedly punched and kicked him - despite the fact he pleaded for mercy telling them that he recently had a heart attack.
On Monday, Shane Murphy, from Swords, received just one year in prison for assault in connection with his leading role in the attack.
In court, Judge Catherine Murphy even praised Murphy for his "courage, tenacity and determination" in dealing with his addiction.
Speaking to the Herald this week, Mr Mullen said he feared he was going to have a heart attack during the horror attack.
"When I fell to the ground Murphy knelt down on top of me. I was getting punched repeatedly by him while the other one was kicking me."
Pleading with his attackers not to hit him due to his bad heart, he said that Murphy responded: 'I don't give a f**k about you and your f**king heart attack'.
"Those exact words have stuck with me ever since," said Mr Mullen.
Despite his relatively tender years, Murphy, from Jugback Lane in Swords, has repeatedly come to the attention to the gardai for violence and has amassed 19 convictions.
They include serving a four- month sentence for assaulting two young women and a man in a "vicious" row over a cigarette in 2012. He was also convicted of assault in February 2015 and has convictions for threatening and abusive behaviour.
Mr Mullen said he had no idea what he was dealing with when he left his home to try and rescue his wheelie bin after being alerted by his wife.
"I immediately ran outside and stood on a wall where I could see that my bin was on fire. I grabbed a metal pole from my shed to retrieve the bin and made my way towards the field."
With about ten individuals at the scene, Mr Mullen was then confronted by two young men, one of them being Shane Murphy - who was then 19 years old.
"I explained that I wanted to get my bin back, but then one of the young men shouted to the crowd 'Here's your man looking for his bin' and 'Look, he's got a stick and is going to beat us up'.
"I told him I wasn't, but then Murphy put his face into mine and said "You're feeling very f**king brave aren't you?
"He asked me if I wanted to hit him and pointed to his cheek. At this stage the pole was taken from my hand and as I started to walk away the two men ran at me from behind.
"I started running, but within about 10 yards the two grabbed me. Murphy reached out and caught me with a punch on my cheek."
Despite the vicious assault, the injured man managed to make it home and call the gardai, while Murphy re-joined the group of men and women drinking in the field.
In a victim impact report, the Kinsealy resident said he felt extreme pain in his face and back after the attack and suffered fractures to his skull and cheekbone.
His medical bills came to €1,500 and he lost €4,200 in missed income due to having to take time off work.
Shane Murphy pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Mr Mullen.
He received a three-year sentence for the assault on Monday with the final two suspended.
After his arrest Murphy admitted the assault and told gardai: "I'm sorry for what I've done. If he were here I would say sorry to him. I wish I could go back."
Cathal McGreal BL, defending, told the court that a medical report had diagnosed Murphy as having alcohol dependent syndrome and hyperactive compulsivity disorder.
He said his father was an alcoholic and he had a turbulent upbringing. Counsel said Murphy's previous convictions were all related to his drinking problem.
The other man who was involved in the attack was not charged with assault. Instead, he pleaded guilty to theft and criminal damage to Mr Mullen's bin. He was found guilty in a separate court case and was ordered to pay the cost of the bin.
Mr Mullen admitted that the assault was a harrowing experience that had left him feeling unsafe and vulnerable.
"The worst part of the trial was being asked to stand in the witness box and explain what had happened while being questioned by his barrister.
"I have since recovered from my injuries and am okay now, but I still found the whole ordeal very traumatic to get over."