herald

Monday 24 April 2017

Three years for thug who attacked two men in city

Roberts smashed a bottle off his head before punching him a number of times. (stock photo)
Roberts smashed a bottle off his head before punching him a number of times. (stock photo)

A man who viciously assaulted two Italian men in separate attacks in Dublin city centre has been jailed for three years.

One of Thomas Roberts' victims said he no longer felt safe in Ireland, while the other left the country shortly after the attack, saying he would never return.

Roberts (23), of Carrow Road, Drimnagh, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of assault causing harm, two counts of robbery, one count of attempted robbery and one count of possessing cannabis on various dates between November 2012 and April 2013.

Bottle

The court heard he was 19 at the time.

Judge Karen O'Connor jailed Roberts for six years but suspended the final three years on strict conditions.

Garda Alan Murphy told Fiona Murphy, prosecuting, that Roberts was one of a group of five men who attacked Francisco Brescia while he was at a cash machine on O'Connell Street on November 24, 2012.

Roberts smashed a bottle off his head before punching him a number of times. The other men then kicked and punched Mr Brescia several times while he was lying on the ground.

Mr Brescia, who suffered damage to his eye and a dislocated shoulder, had lived in Ireland for four years.

"I used to think it was a safe place to live," he said in a victim impact statement read out in court. "I don't any more."

Mr Brescia said he believed he was going to die during the attack and still suffered problems with his vision.

The attack happened five days after Roberts and an accomplice robbed a woman's phone as she was walking down the street, pushing her head off a wall and leaving her with facial bruising.

The following April, Roberts assaulted another Italian man, Andrea Pelle, as he was standing outside a restaurant on Westmoreland Street.

Roberts put him in a headlock after he said he didn't have any cigarettes. Another man then punched Mr Pelle to the head a number of times, knocking out part of his front tooth.

Mr Pelle moved to London shortly after the attack. He gave a victim impact statement to gardai at Dublin Airport, in which he said he would not consider ever returning to Ireland.

Roberts has 20 previous convictions, including robbery and theft. He was on bail during some of the offences.

Fiona Murphy, defending, said he was extremely remorseful for his actions.

Roberts is currently serving a sentence on another matter and has made good use of his time in custody, the court heard.

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