herald

Sunday 11 December 2016

US tourist beaten and mugged after asking woman for directions

B&B boss Mark Mulvey and mugged tourist Donnie Brown
B&B boss Mark Mulvey and mugged tourist Donnie Brown

A lost American tourist was beaten, threatened with a knife and robbed of all his valuables during a violent mugging in Dublin.

Donnie Brown (46), who was attacked after a woman offered to show him the way back to his hostel, said he had been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the public.

When he told his story on RTE Radio's Liveline programme yesterday, the Chicago native immediately received more than 40 offers of help from all over Ireland - including free use of a rental car.

"I feel like I've won the lottery," he told the Herald.

The first person to offer him free accommodation was Mark Mulvey (36), who runs the Tipperary House family bed and breakfast on Parkgate Street in Dublin.

"I was so infuriated when I heard what happened to him, I called Liveline," said Mark.

Dazed

The visitor from Chicago, who was travelling alone on his first holiday in Ireland, said he still felt dazed yesterday as he spoke to the Herald about the attack.

"I feel like I've been hit by a train," he said.

Donnie said he left a fast-food restaurant on O'Connell Street around 11pm on Sunday night. He had not been drinking, but he wasn't sure how to get back to his city centre hostel.

Around Bachelor's Walk, he approached a blonde woman smoking on the footpath and told her he was lost and asked if she knew the way back to his hostel. He said she replied: "Oh love, it's right up the street. Let me show you."

"I remember she seemed in her mid-20s, had spikey hair and had big ear-rings and bracelets," he said.

"She thought I had a Texas accent and told me, 'I love your twang'. Then two of her friends appeared.

"A very tall man began walking beside me and another man was walking behind me.

"As I walked with her, she turned a corner into a lane and I was attacked.

"She had lured me and then boom bam. The guy behind me got me in a choke hold and held a knife to my throat and the other guy said, 'Give me all your money, Yank'."

He handed over his wallet, but the men became angry when they only found about €20. He was punched several times and knocked to the ground. He handed over a satchel, which contained his passport and credit cards, and he gave them his new smartphone.

They ran off and he was left lying bloodied in the lane.

He suffered a broken back tooth in the attack and a cut chin.

He got help in a local shop and later gardai drove him around the area, but they were unable to find his attackers.

When he told gardai the next day he felt dizzy, they brought him to hospital where he received treatment for concussion. "I'm still feeling so discombobulated," he said.

Tricks

"The police officers were all wonderful. They thought they might know the woman who was involved, saying that she was up to her old tricks again.

"The woman and the very tall guy spoke with heavy Irish brogues."

They next day he left the city centre hostel and was offered free accommodation by Mark Mulvey in his bed and breakfast, as he had stayed there a few days earlier.

Mr Mulvey said: "I was horrified. Tourism is so important. We bend over backwards for people visiting Dublin, and then this happens.

"I remember a few years ago being attacked one night on a street in Paris," he added.

Donnie, who works as a monitor in a drug-research clinic in Chicago, said his mother emigrated from Co Cork to Chicago with her family when she was a child.

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