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Dublin: 9 °C Sunday 9 August, 2020

Man left in wheelchair after axe attack

Jonathan Donovan was sentenced today for hitting Paul Doyle in the head twice with an axe.

A DUBLIN MAN who left a victim in a wheelchair after attacking him with an axe has received a partially-suspended six year prison sentence.

Jonathan Donovan (30) hit Paul Doyle in the head twice with an axe during a row which broke out when the two men were using a cocktail of drink and drugs, including heroin.

Detective Garda Fergal O’Flaherty told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that Doyle had armed himself with a knife during the row and Donovan then pulled out the axe and swung it at the victim.

The victim has never recovered from the resulting head injuries and remains a wheelchair user and under the care of the Mater hospital.

Donovan, of O’Devaney Gardens, Dublin pleaded guilty last February to reckless assault of Paul Doyle causing him serious harm at Kelly’s Row, Dorset Street, on 6 April 2014.

Judge John Alymer suspended the last 18 months of a six-year sentence on condition Donovan remained drug free and engaged with the Probation Services and its drug counselling programmes.

He back-dated the sentence to April 2014, when Donovan went into custody.


Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, told Judge Aylmer that the plea was entered by lawyers for Donovan shortly before his trial was due to start on the basis he was reckless about the effects of his actions.

Judge Aylmer said that by pleading guilty Donovan was accepting that he used a level of force that was unreasonable, despite being confronted with a knife.

He said Donovan was aware of the substantial risk of causing serious harm and he took that risk all the same. He said there was a high level of culpability on his part, notwithstanding the “cocktail of substantial drugs” he was acting under.

Donovan has 80 previous convictions, including three for assault causing harm and convictions for firearms, robbery and burglary offences.

Judge Aylmer accepted the State’s submission that the offence lay in the upper range of this type of offence. He said he considered the appropriate sentence to be eight years, prior to considering mitigation.

In respect of mitigation he said that Donovan had co-operated fully with gardaí once he realised how serious the injuries inflicted were. He followed this up with a guilty plea.

The judge said Donovan’s expression of remorse was genuine. He said he had a very difficult and troubled background and had “little chance in life”.

He said that Donovan’s history of drug addiction lay behind all his offending and noted he had taken significant steps towards dealing with this.

There was no victim impact report provided to the court on behalf of Paul Doyle.

Read: Investigation after Tyrone farmer dies in bull attack

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Declan Brennan

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