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Sunday 4 December 2016

Man attacked US tourist and teenager with two-foot long machete

Brian Veale at Cork Cort yest
Brian Veale at Cork Cort yest

A young American tourist suffered a fractured skull after being struck by a machete during a vicious street robbery.

The 19-year-old US tourist, who had just attended the Firkin Crane Theatre in Cork with three US friends, was attacked by Brian Veale (30) just minutes after he had attacked a 17-year-old boy with the two-foot long machete.

Veale, a chronic drug user, later told gardai he had smoked two bags of heroin before going on his street rampage on February 26 last.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that Veale ran up behind Laura Bailey (19) just off Dominic Street in Cork and held the machete over his shoulder as he aggressively demanded her handbag.

Struck

When she resisted having it taken, Veale then struck her behind the ear with the blade.

She was knocked to the ground.

Incredibly, the young woman sustained only a hairline skull fracture.

Miraculously, she escaped life-changing injuries and, having attended a Cork hospital, required a few staples to a wound in her scalp.

She has since returned to the US and did not attend yesterday's sentencing hearing.

Minutes earlier Veale had attacked a 17-year-old boy as he walked with a friend on Dominic Street, off Cork city centre.

The teen was walking home with his pal when he heard the sound of footsteps coming from behind him.

In an unprovoked attack, Veale slashed at the boy's head with the 18-inch blade before attempting to slash him a second time as he fell onto the ground.

Despite a head wound that later required 11 staples, the teen was able to flee the scene with his friend.

Judge Sean O'Donnabhain was told that, minutes later, after attacking and robbing Ms Bailey, Veale fled on foot with her handbag.

However, pedestrians became aware of what had happened and intervened. Several of them bravely took on the defendant.

Veale was disarmed and the machete fell to the ground.

He then ran back towards Dominic Street in a bid to escape the pedestrians, outraged at what he had just done.

He was arrested a short time later by gardai responding to alerts over both incidents.

Judge O'Donnabhain was told that gardai later obtained CCTV security camera footage of the incidents.

Gardai said that, when detained, Veale was so high on drugs and alcohol he could not be immediately interviewed.

Later, when sober, he admitted his involvement in both incidents. He pleaded guilty to robbery of Ms Bailey and assault causing harm to the teen.

Convictions

The court was told that Veale, from Dominic Street, Shandon, Co Cork, and Abbeyside, Dungarvan, Co Waterford, has 101 previous convictions, including six for assault. Two of his convictions were for assault causing harm.

Judge O'Donnabhain said details of the case were "very, very worrying" and he described Veale's record as "hopeless...and a litany of the lamentable".

He also said there were a number of aggravating factors to the assaults.

"He is quite capable of serious violence," the judge said.

When he robbed Ms Bailey and attacked the teen, Veale was already under the terms of a two-year suspended prison sentence imposed by Waterford Circuit Criminal Court for a different offence.

In the wake of the February incidents in Cork, that two-year sentence was re-activated by the Waterford court.

Judge O'Donnabhain jailed Veale for a total of three years with the sentence to commence when he has finished the two year Waterford prison term.

He backdated the sentence for five months.

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