Gormanston train station where the vicious attack on two youths happened.

Teens subjected to ‘hideous attack’ by ‘callous thugs’ at train station

A TEENAGER described by Judge Martina Baxter as one of "a large group of callous thugs" who had subjected two young men from east Meath to a "hideous attack" two years ago was spared jail but must complete 240 hours community service following a hearing at Trim Circuit Court.

One of the victims told gardai he thought he was going to die in the assault.

18-year-old Jason Akundu with an address at Martello Place Balbriggan admitted charges of violent disorder and robbery on 5th November 2017 at Station Rd, Gormanston.

Evidence in the case was heard earlier this year and adjourned for an updated probation report on the defendant.

Garda Robert Leavy told the previous hearing the two victims who were 17-years-old at the time suffered head, facial and other injuries while some of their clothes were torn and stolen and they were left barefoot following the attack.

The garda told prosecutor Carl Hanahoe BL that over Halloween that year there had been a number of public order incidents involving rival groups from the Laytown/Bettystown/Donacarney area and Balbriggan followed by taunting back and forth on social media.

The court heard on the day in question the two victims travelled by train to Gormanston where they had been invited to meet three girls.

While the five were walking from the train station one of the girls returned to the station saying she had forgotten her lipstick and as she was coming back a group of 20-30 people who had got off a train from Balbriggan were joined by more who had been waiting on the nearby beach and all of them ran at the two victims.

The first victim received a dig in the mouth and a blow to the back of his head.

He later told gardai that as he tried to flee he was pushed into a load of nettles and five or six attackers ran at him kicking at his head before he was frogmarched across the road with his hands behind his back.

"I thought I was going to die", he told gardai.

He then recalled being struck by a man with a baseball bat and when the gang let him go he fell to the ground where he was kicked in the head and his jacket, runners and watch were taken and his polo shirt ripped.

He said he could hear people laughing and a girl saying 'stop' but remembered no more until he found himself lying in someone's hall before being taken by ambulance to hospital in Drogheda.

The victim suffered a broken nose and fractured ribs as well as general bruising and swelling.

In an impact statement read to the court he described the time since the attack as "two years of my life that I won't get back".

He said the incident had been shared on social media which he found "humiliating and degrading".

He said he was no longer outgoing or confident and no longer had a social life or a job but was now "trying to get on with life".

The second victim who declined to make an impact statement told gardai he could remember little about the assault other than feeling scared and being stamped on and when he came to his trousers and shoes were gone.

He had been detained overnight in hospital and suffered a broken nose, bleed to the brain, fractures to his face, swollen hands and cut knee. He received stitches to a head wound.

Local people raised the alarm and told gardai of seeing a large group coming from the train with their faces covered and being joined by others - many were armed, some with steel pipes and one had a broken road sign.

The court heard that when questioned by gardai the defendant admitted being part of the group involved in the incident and taking a runner from one of the victims but denied assaulting the either victim.

Another person had been the main provocateur a defence barrister told Judge Martina Baxter who adjourned the case for an updated Probation Report on Akundu

At the resumed sitting Judge Baxter remarked that the two victims had been lured "into a situation where they were clearly going to be beaten".

"This was a cunning plan and a devious one", said the judge.

However Judge Baxter noted the defendant who was now on a training course had written a letter of apology and owned up and taken responsibility for his actions.

The judge imposed a suspended sentence of three years on the violent disorder charge and a sentence of 240 hours community service on the robbery charge.