herald

Saturday 23 September 2017

Son escapes jail over fight that left dad in wheelchair

A MAN has been left in a wheelchair with brain damage after being beaten by his own son. Thomas Murphy is now being fed through a tube directly into his stomach, and has little chance of recovery.



The attacker's grandfather has expressed anger that his grandson walked away with a suspended sentence.

Thomas Byrne, of Gloucester Place, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court two weeks ago to recklessly causing serious harm to his father on February 28 last year.

The 22-year-old was given a five-year suspended sentence for the attack.

"My son was fighting for his life in intensive care for seven weeks. He's brain damaged and in a wheelchair, and he has to be fed through a tube, and the man that did it can walk away," Thomas Snr told the Herald.

"I want people to see what happened to my son. I want them to see the way he has been left for life by someone who has walked free," he added.



PUNCH

Thomas Snr said that when his son was told that Byrne was given a suspended sentence, he cried. "There are people getting six months for stealing, but the message seems to be you can go out and do this to somebody and get less. I want justice for my son. I thought I'd be burying him at the time, to be honest," he added.

The court heard that Byrne had a "strained" relationship with his father and "lost the head" when he found out that he was getting back together with his mother.

It was also told that Byrne drank eight pints and went to confront his father at his home. They began to argue at the doorstep and the father tried to punch his son but missed.

Byrne then punched his father three times in the head causing him to fall backward onto the tiled floor. He then kicked him in the hip while he was lying on the ground.

The victim was later found unconscious on the ground before being brought to the Mater hospital in a critical condition.

The court heard that he was still in a wheelchair today and had suffered serious brain damage. He has trouble speaking or communicating and was unable to provide a victim impact statement.

He is unlikely to ever recover from his injuries and is currently in care.



It is suspected most of the damage was done when the father hit his head on the tiled floor after being hit by his son, rather than from the punches.

He also ingested a tooth into his lungs during the attack, which may have also contributed to his condition.

The court heard Byrne was receiving counselling and had expressed remorse.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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