A WHEELCHAIR user thought he was going to be killed after a man put his two hands around his neck and tried to strangle him, a court was told.
A victim impact statement on behalf of Patrick Doyle was read out in Bandon District Court recently in relation to an assault carried out by Roelof Roberts (62) of ‘Tiger Moon,’ Kinsale Yacht Club, Marina Road, Pier Rd.
At a previous court sitting earlier this year, Mr Roberts was convicted of the Section 3 assault of Patrick Doyle at Pier Road Car Park in Kinsale, after he thought his campervan had been broken into.
Judge Mary Dorgan had adjourned the case for the production of a probation report and had also wanted to hear from Mr Doyle before finalisation.
The 48-year-old divorced father-of-one from Dublin, who drives a modified campervan following a road accident in 1992, travelled to Bandon District Court last week and his statement was read out on his behalf by Judge Dorgan.
‘On December 6th last I was in my campervan at Pier Rd at around 1am when I was woken from my sleep by noise. As my van was shaking intensely I could hear shouting outside and I felt frightened and particularly vulnerable in my circumstances,’ he said.
‘I managed after some time to get to the driver seat and I rolled down the window when suddenly and without warning the assailant put his two hands around my neck and began to strangle me.’
He told the judge: ‘I thought he was going to kill me.’
‘During the course of this assault, which lasted five to 10 minutes, he hit my face several times. I put my hand on the accelerator and drove off and the assailant fell to the ground and I could hear him laughing.’
Mr Doyle said he continues to suffer psychologically and is under the care of his doctor.
‘Since that night I have lived in fear and suffer panic attacks and I won’t stay on my own. The whole episode has had a detrimental effect on me. I feel despaired and doubt I’ll be able to recover. I can see no way out.’
Judge Dorgan thanked Mr Doyle for coming to court and said he was impressed by his strength of character in court.
‘I really hope that having gone through the process of giving your evidence It may give some finalisation for you,’ said Judge Dorgan.
The judge described Mr Doyle’s victim impact statement as ‘harrowing’.
Judge Dorgan said the probation report showed that there was a low risk of the defendant re-offending and it was his first offence.
Solicitor Tony Greenway told the court that his client had pleaded at the first opportunity and had wished the incident had never happened and had already paid €5,000 in compensation to Mr Doyle.
‘He is totally sorry about it and upset it had happened and he wishes to apologise and he has never been in trouble before in his life,’ said Mr Greenway, who added his client had been drunk on the night, which he said was still not an excuse.
Judge Dorgan sentenced the defendant to nine months in prison but directed that he carry out 240 hours of community service in lieu of the sentence after he was found suitable for it by the Probation Services.