Machete-wielding man threatened residents
on 12/02/2013 00:00:00
Cork Circuit Court heard that Ryan, a father of one with 23 previous convictions including one for burglary, had initially threatened one of the residents at the house when he was discovered in the back garden of the property on Mar 30 last year. He said one of those living there owed him €10,000 which the court heard was untrue.
Arresting Garda Barry Duggan told the court Ryan had drawn the machete, had later gone around to the front of the house and, instead of leaving the scene, had returned and said to the residents: "I hope you haven't phoned the gardaí."
When arrested Ryan had made no admission but his DNA was found on the machete.
The court heard from Mark Cummins, the man who first discovered Ryan in the back garden of the house, he had been unable to sleep for a number of nights after the attack.
Recalling the incident he said Ryan had pulled out the sword while in the garden.
"I ran back into the house - I was fairly frightened at that stage," said the witness.
Mr Cummins rang the gardaí but, while Ryan had gone down the road, he then returned and "ran back towards the door of the house".
"We were waiting for the gardaí to come," said the witness. "He claimed someone in the house owed him €10,000 and he was going to kill them if he got them."
He found it a struggle to sleep afterwards and had been "fairly frightened" in the house as Ryan was arrested two days after the incident. Mr Cummins added he kept something in his room to protect himself in case anything like that happened again.
The court heard that witnesses had said Ryan was "out of his head on tablets" but Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said that was one explanation for the attack and another was that Ryan believed he was above the law.
The judge said while Ryan had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity the circumstances of the case were "truly appalling".
"It appears that you had no regard at all for the safety of the people in the house who had nothing to do with you."
Judge Ó Donnabháin said Ryan had sought to "impose himself" on the residents of the house and had been "exercising your power over people you have frightened" in a "deliberate act of armed violence".
The court heard Ryan had a longstanding drug problem and had suffered a bad relapse at the end of 2011, which had led to him becoming involved in "a lot of trouble". But Judge Ó Donnabháin found the accused had engaged in a "deliberate, conscious act of violence rather than a drug-induced one". He said Ryan had not followed up on his previous efforts to kick drugs and handed down a four year sentence with the last year suspended.