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Monday 26 September 2016

'Never been this happy' ... teen's online boast after brutal stabbing

Darren O'Donovan was sentenced to five years for crimes
Darren O'Donovan was sentenced to five years for crimes

A teenager who has been jailed for stabbing a homeless man in the head and chest boasted about the attack on social media following the incident.

Darren Donovan (18) was given a five-year prison term for a number of different offences, which included two robberies and the violent Temple Bar attack.

Donovan stabbed John Joseph Joyce a number of times during the incident on June 27 of last year, leaving his victim with injuries to his head and chest.

The teenager's trial heard that he "planned the offence and was seeking revenge", with Donovan claiming that Mr Joyce was responsible for an earlier attack on his brother.

Messages

The Herald can reveal that the young thug posted a number of sinister messages on social media prior to the attack, in which he said that an unnamed person "would be dead".

Donovan also wrote on his Facebook page in the aftermath of the violent attack, in which he said he had never been "this f***ing happy before".

In a post on June 20 - a week before the attack - the teenager called an unnamed person a "rat" and added that this person was "a dead man".

"See you ya little rat, trying to stab me after I looked after you all day ... I'm telling you watch when I get you in the right spot," Donovan wrote.

In another message, posted the day after the stabbing, the teenager wrote "never been this f***ing happy before honestly ... at least that's out of the way now, gonna' keep the head down from now on".

His social media account - which has since been removed - was also filled with several pictures of large knives.

Donovan was last week handed a five-year prison term, with a partially suspended sentence for the vicious attack. The charges included the stabbing and two separate robberies.

Donovan, with an address in Parlickstown Gardens, Mulhuddart pleaded guilty to assault causing harm at the Dublin Circuit Court last week.

He also pleaded guilty to robbing a city centre Spar of €400 and robbing a man of his wallet in a city centre laneway on March 22, 2013.

The court heard that Donovan believed Mr Joyce had previously assaulted his brother when he set upon him, stabbing him in the chest and head.

Mr Joyce suffered scarring to his lungs, ear and hand as a result of the attack. He also had to have his spleen removed.

Judge Sarah Berkeley noted Donovan was one of 13 children who grew up in difficult financial circumstance and who suffered from "situational depression".

She sentenced him to a total of five years' imprisonment for the three offences, but suspended the final 18 months on several conditions, including that he be on good behaviour.

Unprovoked

Separately, three other stabbing incidents happened on the same night as Mr Joyce was attacked. These were completely unrelated to the stabbing of Mr Joyce.

In one incident, a young man was stabbed in the head and chest in an unprovoked attack on nearby Fleet Street.

The victim was rushed to St James' Hospital but eventually discharged.

Another two men were injured in another incident during which a bottle was smashed and used to stab a man in the abdomen. However, both of the victims' injuries were not life-threatening.

A new Garda Public Order Unit was announced last year to deal with the number of assaults and anti-social incidents that occur in Temple Bar and its surrounding streets.

The unit, based at Pearse Street Garda Station, are deployed at the weekends to deal with public order offences and cover a large area which extends from the River Liffey to the Grand Canal.

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