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Travelling magician who lost eye in Temple Bar attack speaks about being bottled in the face

Mark Beltran from the Philippines says recovery has been difficult.

Beltran travelled the world as a street performer.
Beltran travelled the world as a street performer.

A MAGICIAN AND street performer who lost an eye after he was attacked in Temple Bar has said that his attacker never looked at him when he travelled to court for his trial.

Mark Beltran (30), a magician from the Philippines, spoke to RTÉ’s Joe Duffy this afternoon about the attack which took place in September 2016.

The attacker, Luke Byrne (18) from Phibsboro in Dublin, is currently serving four-and-a-half years of a nine-year jail-term after he was sentenced last Friday.

The altercation began when the amplifier Beltran uses for his act was stolen after a performance in Dublin.

Later, friends of the victim called him to say they spotted his amplifier being used by a group of teenagers in Temple Bar. They took back the amp and told Beltran they’d recovered it.

When the victim met back up with his friends and headed for home he was attacked in an unprovoked assault.

“We were walking two minutes away from my bed and breakfast and I was attacked and assaulted, and the rest is history,” Beltran said.

There were six teenagers that attacked me and one of them sucker-punched me with a bottle to the face and that ended up disfiguring my face and taking out my eye.

The person who attacked him was Byrne, who has also since been convicted of a number of robberies of women whom he threatened with a knife.

In some cases Byrne did use violence, kicking and punching victims, the court heard.

Beltran said immediately after the attack that he knew his injuries were bad and that he was unable to see out of his right eye.

Despite this, he felt his sight would return with medical help but a number of days later he realised this would not happen.

Four days after they told me I was never going to see again in the right eye. During the attack, right after it was really terrifying, I felt a kind of fear that was really hard to live with. I remember thinking that I was better off dying rather than live with less of myself.

The attack happened during Beltran’s second trip to Ireland, the third time he returned was for the trial.

He came back for the trial because he wanted to get “some answers” about what happened.

I decided the come back because I needed to answer a few questions, like ‘why anyone would do such a thing?’ I consider myself an empathetic person and I wanted to get behind his mind and logic and see why he would sucker-punch a person in the face with a bottle. Because that really didn’t make sense to me.

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He added that the attacker never looked at him during the trial:

No, his parents were just sitting behind me to the side. Luke Byrne, he was just a deadpan look. He had a blank face and he was looking straight forward and he never looked at me.

Beltran says that in the time since the assault he’s been attempting to train so he can get back to travelling and performing but that so far he has not done so.

He says his vision is clearly affected and he sometimes wears an eyepatch.

“To be honest with you, it’s been challenging and very difficult because I have some limitations. Having no eye means it’s completely different.”

“Magic Mark” Beltran has a donations page to help aid his recovery.

Read: Teenager jailed for glass attack that left magician blind in one eye >

Read: Mother of sick child facing deportation ‘turned to prostitution’ to pay his medical bills, Supreme Court hears >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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