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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C

Three years detention for teen who attacked gardaí after robbing American tourists

US tourists Ryan Dillon was punched and kicked after being robbed while walking in Dublin with his partner and her 82-year-old grandmother.

A DRUNKEN TEENAGER who attacked and injured two gardaí after robbing a group of American tourists in a north Dublin park has been given three years detention.

CCTV later showed Dylan Thomas (19) was one of a large group of youths who took part in the robbery.

US tourists Ryan Dillon, his partner and her 82-year-old grandmother were walking in the town park after dinner when they were robbed of a camera bag. Dillon was punched and kicked by the group of youths when he attempted to retrieve their belongings.

Later Thomas punched and kicked an investigating garda who directed him to move out of the area. He later lashed out at another garda who attempted to remove his hoodie to search him at the garda station.

Thomas of Palmer Avenue, Rush, Co Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Garda Stephen Harte causing him harm and assaulting Garda Keith Delaney on 2 May 2015. He further pleaded guilty to robbery at Swords Town Park on the same date.

Judge Melanie Greally said the tourists had been “beset by a pack of youths” during the robbery and their memories of Ireland had been blighted by the incident.

She said Thomas had a capacity for some considerable violence particularly when he had consumed alcohol but noted he now appeared to be applying himself to more positive pursuits. She said the court must have regard to his prospects for rehabilitation.

Judge Greally imposed four years detention and suspended the final year on strict conditions including that he co-operates with the probation service in addressing his drug, alcohol and anger control issues and attend psychiatric and educational services as directed.

Defence counsel, Pieter Le Vert BL, told the court that gardaí had responded to a call about the robbery of the tourists in the park but the group of youths had scattered by the time they arrived.

Thomas, who was heavily intoxicated, was still there and assaulted a garda who attempted to question him.

Gardaí began the investigation into the robbery of the tourists and realised that Thomas was part of the group involved. Thomas told gardaí he did not remember much of what happened but after seeing CCTV footage of the incident agreed he had been involved in punching and dragging Ryan Dillon.

At the first sentence hearing in March, Mr Le Vert had handed up a psychologist’s report. He said there were a number of concerns raised in the report and suggested that it was obvious “why things have taken the course they have”.

He said Thomas was expelled from school for fighting but said he claimed he was standing up for someone who was being bullied.

Le Vert said Thomas had difficulty with “alcohol, possibly cannabis and most likely authority”.

Counsel said Thomas had not been involved in any further trouble, had stopped smoking cannabis and decreased his drinking. He said Thomas had started school in the prison and wanted to become a fitness instructor.

He told Judge Greally that Thomas was still a very young man and there seemed to be a future for him if he continued to use his time wisely.

Read: Jury discharged from murder trial after they spot 29 second gap in crucial CCTV evidence>