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Friday 25 May 2018

Knife attacker admits attempted murder in Hell Fire Club horror

The Hell Fire Club where the three teenagers were attacked
The Hell Fire Club where the three teenagers were attacked

A Dublin man who stabbed a teenager in the chest with such force that the blade of the knife broke has pleaded guilty to attempted murder.

Michael Corbett (28) attacked the 17-year-old victim and his two teenage friends at the Hell Fire Club in an unprovoked assault, a court was told.

Corbett, a father-of-one from Raheny, claimed that he feared he was going to be set upon and that there was a "weird air" about the place.

He had been sitting with his victims for around two hours, before attacking them with a knife and a log.

During the assault in June 2016, Corbett stabbed the youth in the chest and throat, before striking his friends - a man and woman both aged 18 - with the log.

Drunk

They had tried to help their friend after he was stabbed by Corbett, before themselves being set upon by the thug.

The force of the knife striking the 17-year-old's chest was so severe that the blade broke in half. The victim was left with serious injuries.

Corbett was known to gardai for public order offences.

These previous offences included being drunk in a public place and assaults, although he had not been previously investigated for any involvement in violent crimes.

The incident at the Hell Fire Club was a "completely unprovoked attack" and Corbett was arrested in the Killakee area hours later.

He was brought to Tallaght Garda Station, where he was initially charged with assault causing harm.

This was later upgraded to attempted murder, and yesterday Corbett pleaded guilty to that charge.

He will be sentenced on July 2 for the attack at the popular hiking spot on Dublin's Montpelier Hill.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy remanded him in custody until the sentencing date.

When he was first charged, the court heard that Corbett feared he was going to be attacked and that there was a "weird air" about the place.

At that hearing, defence solicitor Tracy Horan also said the accused had been co-operative with gardai.

"In his defence, he felt he was going to be attacked and there was a weird air about the place," Ms Horan said.

Garda Pauline Glennon, from Tallaght Garda Station, replied that Corbett had been in the company of the three victims for two hours prior to the incident and they would say it was "completely unprovoked".

Ms Horan said the camping knife was brought to the mountain by one of the victims.

Gda Glennon said the accused had stated that he saw the knife on the ground, picked it up and put it to the first youth's chest, and the knife "sprung off".

Corbett has been in custody since his first court appearance, and missed a number of bail hearings owing to illness.

When he was initially charged, the presiding judge recommended that he be psychiatrically assessed.

Blood

In the aftermath of the attempted murder, a four-year-old boy who was in the company of his grandmother witnessed two of the victims covered in blood.

The three teenagers were brought to Tallaght Hospital after the assault, where they were treated for a number of hours before being discharged.

The Hell Fire Club has a sinister history that includes rumours of hauntings and an appearance by the devil himself.

The imposing stone building was built as a hunting lodge in around 1725 by William Connolly, a speaker at the Irish House of Commons at the time.

Originally, there was a cairn with a prehistoric passage grave at the site and folklore suggests that the Hell Fire Club is haunted because stones from the cairn were used in its construction.

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