Man threatened to kill a sex worker and assaulted his elderly fatherPadraig Conlon 29 Jul 2022
By Sonya McLean and Isabel Hayes
A man who threatened to kill a sex worker and who, in a separate incident, threw his elderly father against a wall and broke his hip has been jailed for just over six years.
Alan Byrne (46) was living with his 84-year-old father at the time of both incidents and acting as his carer. He was a heavy drug user.
Sentencing him yesterday, Judge Melanie Greally suspended the final 18 months of a seven years and eight months prison term,
Byrne of Gilbert Road, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to threatening to kill the woman at his home on March 24, 2018.
He further pleaded guilty to assaulting his father, Peter Byrne, causing him harm on December 10, 2020
In relation to the threat to kill incident, Garda Richard Whiston told Kathleen McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting, that Byrne arranged for a female escort to come to his home at 8am on the morning in question.
He paid the woman to stay for two hours, giving her €375 and US$100 and the pair engaged in sexual activity, the court heard.
Byrne snorted crack cocaine and they both drank some alcohol.
At the end of the two hours, Byrne asked the woman to stay longer, but he did not agree to her asking price of US$250 and so she prepared to leave.
Byrne then pushed the woman against the wall, held her by the face and called her a “whore” before telling her she wasn’t leaving his house, the court heard.
Over a period of about 40 minutes, Byrne slapped the woman on the face, threatened her with an imitation gun and a knife, telling her he would “stab her in the heart if she moved and no one would know he had killed her”, the court heard.
He put the gun, which the woman believed to be real, to her head. He told her he was going to kill her.
The woman managed to phone a friend and ask them to call gardaí after Byrne told her to phone her “pimp”.
At this stage he had taken back the money he had given her and thrown it all around the bedroom.
When gardaí knocked on the door, Byrne told them he had a knife and to get away, saying “she’s not getting out of here either”.
Gardaí then forced an entry and Byrne was subdued with pepper spray, Gda Whiston said.
The woman was in a state of distress in the wake of the incident, the court heard. She has since returned to her native Romania and did not wish to make a victim impact statement.
When interviewed by gardaí, Byrne said he believed the woman was trying to rob money from his elderly father.
Defence barrister Feargal Kavanagh SC said Byrne was paranoid at the time as a result of the crack cocaine he had taken.
He has been a heroin addict from a young age, the court heard.
In relation to the assault incident, neighbours including Byrne’s brother alerted gardaí to an incident at the house after they heard breaking glass and a man and woman fighting.
Byrne told the gardaí who arrived at the scene just after 6.30am that his home had just been broken into.
He said there were two intruders who smashed the glass in the front door, attacked his father and stabbed him.
Detective Garda Richard Pender told Ms McGillicuddy that Byrne’s supposed stabbing injury that he showed the gardaí were superficial and looked more like injuries caused by finger nails.
He did not need medical attention but his father was taken to hospital in an ambulance.
Gardaí were then informed by the neighbours that Byrne could be heard arguing with his girlfriend that morning and she was overheard saying: “You’ll get life for what you did to your Da.”
It was also noted that the glass was on the outside of the doorway and not inside the house, which would be expected if the house had been broken into as Byrne had claimed.
The house had not been ransacked.
Karl Monahan BL, defending, said his client was “very apologetic” and that Byrne had told him he would “love to give his father a hug and say I love you”.
His 20 previous convictions include public order, road traffic and failure to appear.
He has no convictions for violence.
Det Gda Pender said gardaí spoke to Byrne’s father two days after the assault.
He said he had been asleep in his downstairs bedroom when he was pulled out of his bed and pushed across the room by someone demanding money.
He said the person was a stranger to him.
Mr Byrne later contracted Covid while he was undergoing surgery for his hip and gardaí could not speak to him again for four weeks.
He then made a second statement in which he admitted that his son had caused his injuries.
He said he made up the previous statement because he “didn’t want to get Alan in trouble” but he said he was fearful of returning home to his son and would now live with his other son in the house next door.
He described Byrne as a very strong man – “a big fella”.
He said Byrne lifted him above his head and threw him against the wall “like I was a feather”.
He said Byrne was roaring and shouting and “came at me with venom”. “He could have been shouting at me for about an hour beforehand. I was roaring crying with pain, he threw me about four feet.”
Mr Byrne Snr told gardaí that his son had been his carer for a number of years, collected his pension and medication and took care of his day-to-day needs.
He said he no longer wanted to live with him now because he felt terrified.
A victim impact statement prepared by Peter Byrne stated that he wakes up in a cold sweat thinking of the assault and regularly breaks downs in tears.
He said he has lost his mobility and independence and relies on others to help him in his daily life.
He said his heart is broken as he has lost his son – someone he trusted and confided in.
Mr Monahan said his client had devoted a large part of his life to looking after his father.
He became addicted to drugs after he left school at age 14.
He later began using harder drugs and subsequently became addicted to heroin.
He is on a methadone programme now, the court heard.