Sunday 21 April 2019

Thug asked boy 'Do you want to die?' before he attacked him on street

Lee Byrne asked his young victim if he wanted to die. Photo: North West Newspix
Lee Byrne asked his young victim if he wanted to die. Photo: North West Newspix

A Dublin thug viciously attacked a 14-year-old boy and asked him if he wanted to die as he waited to be collected from a kids' disco by his mother.

Tallaght native Lee Byrne (28) set upon the teen, who was waiting for his lift outside a takeaway in Letterkenny, Co Donegal.

At 12.20am on July 14, Byrne confronted the boy and asked him if he wanted to die before punching him.


The terrified teenager ran and hid inside the takeaway.

His mother arrived and Byrne was pointed out to her but he fled, only to be arrested by gardai who arrived on the scene.

Officers arrested Byrne, who was drunk, and they later found a cannabis grinder in his possession.

He abused gardai and called them "public service w****rs."

Byrne, of no fixed abode but originally from Tallaght, admitted assaulting the boy but said he had no recollection of the attack.

He appeared at Letterkenny District Court charged with assaulting the boy, whom he had never known.

"It was a completely random attack and they were not known to each other," gardai told the court.

A victim impact statement written by the boy on how his life had changed since the attack was handed into court but not read out.

Byrne's solicitor, Rory O'Brien, said his client had read the letter and was deeply moved by how the incident had affected the boy.

He said he wanted to apologise to the victim but simply could not remember attacking him and had no recollection of the incident.

Mr O'Brien said Byrne's parents had split when he was young and he had become addicted to various substances.


Days before the attack, Byrne had become homeless and was sleeping rough in Letterkenny.

A letter of apology written by Byrne to his victim was handed into court.

Judge Paul Kelly said he wanted to hear what the teen had to say about the letter.

He adjourned the case until December 17 and said he was interested in hearing if the boy wanted to engage in the restorative justice process with his attacker.

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