A man who attacked an 86-year-old woman by putting her inside a wheelie bin after the victim had got lost en-route to her home late at night has been sentenced to 2 and a half years in prison.
The court heard that Alex Bailey (30) was experiencing induced psychosis due to his level of intoxication and was under “the delusional belief that the victim was a predatory paedophile”.
Bailey met the woman in a Dublin suburb around 2am, and CCTV footage from the night shows that he remained in her company for over an hour.
The footage shows Bailey assaulting the woman sporadically for 42 minutes, including knocking her to the ground, putting her head first into a wheelie bin and applying pressure to the lid of the bin.
The bin fell over, and as the woman tries to get out, she was punched in the face and kicked to the body, Garda Paul O’Donnell told the court.
The woman feared she was going to be killed and later told gardaí: “I really thought I was going to be dead.”
Counsel for Bailey said his client had taken a significant number of intoxicants on the night, which led to “induced psychosis”, and he was under “the delusional belief that the victim was a predatory paedophile”.
Bailey believed the woman was a man dressed up as a woman, Patrick Gageby, SC, defending, told the court.
Gda O’Donnell told Paddy Jackson BL, prosecuting, that three students passed by and came to the woman’s assistance. At this point, she was sitting on the kerb with her feet stretched out into a cycle lane. Her face and hands were covered in blood, and she was shaking.
A compilation of the footage was shown to the court, which shows Bailey standing nearby as the three students tried to help the woman. Bailey can be seen engaging in conversation with the group before walking away.
Gda O’Donnell said the woman told the students that Bailey had assaulted her and taken her wallet. He had left the scene before emergency services arrived.
Bailey was arrested after gardaí secured hours of CCTV footage. They traced his steps from the time he left work that evening before he spent some time in a number of pubs in the Dublin 2 and Dublin 6 area and ultimately met the victim. He wore the same clothing throughout.
The woman was later treated for a fractured nose and blood loss. She had been living independently at the time, although she had been diagnosed with early-onset dementia. She has since had to move into a nursing home because she struggles with her balance following the attack and needs constant care due to a risk of her falling.
Bailey, of Claragh, Ramelton, Donegal pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting the woman causing her harm on September 1st, 2022, in Dublin 6.
He also admitted robbery of cash and her mobile phone and false imprisonment. Bailey was arrested 12 days after the attack. He has no previous convictions and had been in full-time employment up until the attack.
A victim impact statement from the woman’s son said that leaving his mother in a bin that night “nearly killed her”. “It has impacted her life in a major way and significantly reduced her quality of life.”
He said his mother was traumatised and unable to walk for weeks. She lost her sense of balance and required 24/7 specialist care for four months.
He said she was obsessed with her “near-death experience” and repeated regularly, “Please stop killing me,” and “Are you trying to kill me?” She suffered regular bouts of physical shaking and did not sleep well.
Her son said the incidents of physical shaking have since reduced considerably, but his mother has become withdrawn and is unable to walk unaided. Due to “fall risks”, she is no longer able to live independently and had to move to a nursing home.
According to her son, the woman has lost her confidence and her dementia has worsened. She is highly unlikely to leave the nursing home and is sad and depressed. “Many times, it seems as if she has given up,” the statement continued.
The victim’s son said prior to the attack, his mother really didn’t want to lose her independence and led “quite a fulfilling social life”.
Gda O’Donnell agreed with Mr Gageby that Bailey told the students that came to help the woman to keep away from her and that she was dangerous and a paedophile.
Mr Gageby handed in a book of testimonials into court and a psychiatric report. He said his client had consumed a significant number of intoxicants that night and suffered a memory blackout.
He said that as a result of his intoxication, Bailey had “induced psychosis” and was under “the delusional belief that the victim was a predatory paedophile”.
Counsel said his client was “deeply sorry for the pain and suffering he has caused” and has since “fully engaged with the Rutland Centre” to deal with his alcohol and drug misuse. He had €10,000 in court to offer as a token of his remorse.
Passing sentence on Friday, Judge Crowe said this 30-year-old man with a previously unblemished record is now before the court for assault causing harm to a then 86-year-old woman whom he robbed, punched, kicked and threw into a wheelie bin.
She said the aggravating factors were the nature and duration of the offence, the age of the injured party and the injuries she sustained.
The judge said she took into consideration the mitigating factors including Bailey's early guilty plea, the fact that the injured party did not need to give evidence, his remorse, his good work history and the considerable work he has done while in custody to rehabilitate himself.
She said the court will treat the assault as the principal offence and take the offence of robbery into consideration. She outlined that this was on the higher range of offending, and the maximum sentence for this offence is five years.
Judge Crowe sentenced him to three years in prison, backdated from when he went into custody. In order to incentivise Bailey, she suspended the final six months under the condition that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour for two years post-release. He must abstain from all alcohol and drugs, attend the Rutland Centre for one-year post-release and agree to random urine testing.
The judge said that if the injured party did not wish to accept the €10,000 which was brought to court by Bailey as a token of his remorse, it should be donated to The Royal Hospital in Donnybrook, where the injured party received rehabilitation treatment.