An Emo man who broke into a house and assaulted a 59-year-old Ballydavis man so badly the injured party was slipping around in his own blood has claimed that he was hallucinating at the time and believed he was hitting his own father.
At the recent circuit court, Judge Keenan Johnson said that Michael Gleeson (33), Morette, Emo, was “an absolute danger to society”, in what the judge described as one of the worst cases he had ever seen.
Gleeson pleaded guilty to burglary, at Ballydavis, on May 4, 2015.
Garda Gerard Doolan gave evidence, with State prosecutor, Mr Will Fennelly, that the injured party, Mr Paul Kelly (59), went to Treacys of The Heath for a drink, and after a short period of time the accused entered. Mr Kelly noticed that Gleeson was staring at him intently and Mr Kelly asked him why he was staring, at which point tensions rose.
Mr Kelly went home to bed, but some time after 10pm the door of the house was burst in and Gleeson entered, shouting that he was looking for “that bastard” and was going to kill him. He stormed around the house until he located Mr Kelly in the bedroom, and then violently assaulted Mr Kelly in his bed and on the floor.
The court heard that as Mr Kelly attempted to get up he was slipping and skidding in his own blood. When his wife intervened, Gleeson threatened to kill her and burn down the house.
“Mrs Kelly was begging him to stop and when he did stop, before he left, he threatened that if she called the gardaí he would kill her and burn down the house,” said Garda Doolan.
Mrs Kelly then contacted her husband’s sister, a Mrs Conroy, however Gleeson returned to the house and proceeded to assault Mr Kelly again.
When he finally left, Mrs Kelly and Mrs Conroy used the couch to block the door, as they were unable to lock it due to the lock being broken by Gleeson.
Photographs of the injured party’s bedroom were handed into court, showing a considerable amount of blood splattered around the room.
In a victim impact statement, Mr Kelly said: “When he came back the second time I thought he was going to kill me.”
Mr Kelly said he was in constant pain daily and had spent weeks not being able to see his grandchildren as he didn’t want to frighten them by his appearance.
“We lived in fear for weeks while he was out on bail and we’re in fear of when he gets out,” said Mr Kelly.
In her statement, Mrs Kelly said: “I thought I had lost my husband at the hands of Michael Gleeson… I don’t think I will ever feel safe in my home again.”
Mr Kelly’s sister, Mrs Conroy, also made a statement to gardaí, in which she spoke of seeing her 59-year-old brother covered in blood from head to foot.
“When I entered the room it was covered in blood, it was like something from a horror movie, the image is burned into my mind,” she said.
Mrs Conroy said she was in constant fear that the accused would come back and kill her and her brother.
The court heard that Gleeson and his partner had been drinking all day and had quite an amount of alcohol taken.
After the attack, Gleeson “went to ground”, said Mr Fennelly, and was arrested a number of days later at his home address following a lot of garda efforts to track him down.
When he was arrested, Gleeson initially said he couldn’t remember exactly what happened, but as the interviews progressed he made more admissions.
Gleeson told the gardaí that Mr Kelly, who was a drinking associate of the accused’s father, had reminded him of his father on the night.
“My father was laughing at me,” Gleeson told the gardaí, going on to say that his father was always in his head. “I keep hearing him in my head. I went to the pub and saw him. I thought he was my father, he used to beat my mother up.”
When asked who did he think he was hitting on the night, Gleeson replied: “My father.”
The accused had a number of previous convictions, including a number of assaults and public order offences. He surrendered his bail in October last year and has been in custody on this matter since.
Defence, Mr John Shortt admitted that the attack had been horrific, and there had been no history between the two men.
Mr Shortt said that his client had hid from gardaí for a number of days, but was then going to hand himself in.
“Well, it’s easy enough to say he was about to hand himself in after he’s been arrested,” said Garda Doolan.
Mr Shortt said Gleeson had been “a troubled youth” with a long history of offending dating back to his childhood difficulties.
He said that alcohol had been a provoker on the night of the attack.
“It was definitely a factor, but knowing Mr Gleeson, his own aggressive manner was a far bigger factor,” replied Garda Doolan.
“He’s an absolute danger to society,” said Judge Johnson. “He was an absolute danger on this particular night, it was only by the grace of God that Mr Kelly wasn’t killed.”
Mr Shortt said his client had a history of substance abuse and offending, and had claimed to be hallucinating on the night and felt his father was trying to control his life. Mr Shortt said that Gleeson wanted to take his punishment and start fresh when released from prison, and he will engage with all forms of treatment.
Mr Fennelly read into the record a medical report on the injured party, which listed multiple fractures and a cranial hemorrhage among the injuries. However, Garda Doolan gave evidence that Mr Kelly suffered a fracture to the back of his skull and a broken nose, broken eye sockets, and a broken jaw, and he required a lot of surgery. When cross-examined by defence, Garda Doolan admitted that he could have been mistaken on some details.
In light of the garda’s evidence, Judge Johnson described the medical report as featured in the book of evidence as “a ludicrous waste of State resources”, as it was “totally and utterly inadequate”.
Judge Johnson said that a full medical report on the injured party was needed before the case could be finalised, and he put the matter back to July 26 .
“This ranks as one of the worst cases of assault I have ever had to deal with,” he said.