herald

Thursday 20 September 2018

'Mam's cancer is back - I blame vicious attackers'

Eva Sutton beat cancer 12 years ago but it has now returned.
Eva Sutton beat cancer 12 years ago but it has now returned.

The family of a grandmother savagely assaulted and falsely imprisoned in her own home has said her attackers are "killing her slowly".

They claim the elderly victim's cancer has returned as a result of the brutal attack.

Eva Sutton (91) was attacked in her home in Bray, Co Wicklow, in the early morning of September 15, 2015 by two young thugs who were out on bail.

During the 90-minute ordeal, she was tied up, kicked in the head and chest and dragged around her home by the hair.

Michael Cash (25) and Jamie O'Brien (23) are now serving eight-year jail stretches for the vicious attack.

Eva Sutton's daughter, Amanda. Photo: INM
Eva Sutton's daughter, Amanda. Photo: INM

Speaking to the Herald, Ms Sutton's daughter, Amanda, said the family believe the attack has triggered the return of her mother's cancer.

"Her attackers are killing her," she said "Mam had cancer 12 years ago and it went, but in the past few months it has returned.

"When you look at the damage done to her physically, the internal injuries, it's no wonder the cancer is back," said Ms Sutton.

"Mam was so outgoing, she was a little dear. She was a strong woman but the attack really got to her."

The injuries to the then 89-year-old included a punctured lung, a broken nose, fractured ribs, cuts to her face and severe bruising to her body.

Her daughter described the perpetrators as "vicious thugs" and slammed Cash's attempt to feign remorse in court.

"Not even an animal would do what they did," she said. "And then his defence team says he's remorseful for what he did. The time to be remorseful was when he was being interviewed by gardai, but he denied everything.

Scalp

"Mam is tiny. She's only five feet. You could lean on her and she wouldn't be able to move, so why did they have to do what they did?"

The attack was so severe that Judge Michael Walsh, speaking at Cash's sentencing hearing yesterday, said it amounted to "torture".

Amanda recalled the day her mother was attacked, when she realised the extent of the violence used.

"It was around five o'clock and I was clearing the house, taking out bits," she said.

"At the back door there were clumps of her hair and scalp. I just lost it. I thought, 'What did she go through?'

"I feel for animals when I see one dead on the road. I think, 'God, that could be my cat'. But when it's your own mother's flesh and blood on the floor, at her own back door...

"She had stitches in her face and in her legs. How she didn't bleed out, I'll never know."

Ms Sutton's daughter also told how the thugs - who threatened to kill and shoot her mother - threatened to cut-off her finger when they tried to take her wedding ring.

They further tried to scare and intimidate her by claiming they were members of the IRA.

Despite her pleading with them to stop, the ordeal continued. At one stage Ms Sutton told them: "I'm dying. I'm dying".

Judge Walsh noted that the two criminals showed no mercy during the attack.

The Herald can reveal that Cash tried - and failed - to get his sentence date put back.

It was denied after Judge Walsh said he was taking into account his frail victim's age.

Ms Sutton's daughter praised the investigation team at Bray Garda Station, who she claimed had been "brilliant" over the past two years.

"They always kept us informed on what was happening, and they were so careful to make absolutely sure that all the evidence they gathered was correct, that none of the forensic evidence was contaminated," she said.

In mitigation, Cash's defence counsel told the court that he and O'Brien were high on drugs at the time of the assault

Protective

"At 10am, after the attack, they were making efforts to move on the jewellery and sterling they had stolen. They were clued in."

More than €6,000 worth of jewellery and money was stolen from Ms Sutton's home, most of which was never recovered.

Cash and O'Brien further caused nearly €6,000 worth of damage to the house, while Ms Sutton's medical bills totalled €11,165.15.

The two thugs were last night being held in protective custody after prison officials received intelligence that threats had been made against them.

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