herald

Sunday 10 December 2017

Knife attacker is jailed after eight years on run

A man who left his victim severely brain-damaged and wheelchair-bound after a knife attack has been sentenced to 12 years.

Robert Slator (30) stabbed Daniel O'Haire, cutting a 3cm gash in his neck and lacerating his jugular vein, which caused cardiac arrest and deprivation of blood to the brain.

After the stabbing, Slator boasted to onlookers: "Ha, youse didn't think I'd do it. I only bought this one [knife] last night; it's nice, isn't it?" and wiped the blood off the knife on some grass.

The court heard that Slator fled Ireland the next day and went on the run for eight years. He was brought back before the court last August under an European Arrest Warrant.

Judge Desmond Hogan said the attack is "high up the scale of seriousness" and that the account of its effects on the victim makes for "dismal reading".

He imposed a 12-year jail term, but suspended the final 12 months after noting Slator's tough upbringing.

Mr O'Haire's mother, Liz, said in a victim impact report that she is now her son's "voice, his carer, his nurse, his reader, his arms and his legs".

"Daniel is so severely brain-damaged that he cannot speak, swallow or walk. He is fully aware of his surroundings, but as he cannot speak, he blinks to indicate yes or no.

"He cannot swallow and is fed through a tube. Thirty years ago, I gave birth to my beautiful son and Robert Slator took his beautiful life in 2003."

Slator, of Barry Avenue in Finglas, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to recklessly causing serious harm to Mr O'Haire in Finglas on July 18, 2003.

Detective Garda Tony Gleeson told Pieter LeVert, prosecuting, that the stabbing stemmed from a previous incident.

Mr O'Haire (30) spotted Slator and said: "Come here, I want to talk to you." Slator walked away and returned a short time later with two knives.

Mr O'Haire walked towards Slator and they squared up to each other.

"Slator swiped three times at the victim and missed. The fourth swipe with the knife hit Mr O'Haire in the neck," said Det Gda Gleeson.

Mr O'Haire was heard saying: "I can't breath. I'm going to die."

An ambulance was called and Mr O'Haire went into cardiac arrest and had to receive CPR for 20 minutes.

He was transferred to the intensive care unit at Connolly Memorial Hospital, where a tracheotomy was carried out owing to the lack of blood going to his brain. He suffered significant brain damage as a result.

Isobel Kennedy, defending, said Slator fled the country "as he felt at risk from various people".

She said Slator was incarcerated in St Michael's Institution at 15 because of truancy.

"He developed an alcohol problem. He accepts he is responsible for Mr O'Haire's injuries, but had no realisation at the time of the extent of the damage caused. What he has done will remain with him for the rest of his life."

hnews@herald.ie

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