Teen boy handed community service for ‘rage-filled’ attack on Dublin lesbian couple

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A 17-year-old boy has been handed community service after carrying out a “rage-filled” on a lesbian couple in Dublin left the victims with “horrible injuries”.

The incident, categorised by the Gardaí as a hate crime, saw the boy – who was 15 at the time – use a homophobic slur and repeatedly punch the lesbian couple who were cuddling at a bus shelter in Dublin on 16 May 2022. The boy was also under the influence of drugs and on bail for another offence.

On this date, Robyn Deane and her partner Kate McCabe were approached at the bus shelter by the boy and a man when the defendant shouted “two f*****g dykes”, before striking McCabe “with a closed fist punch”. He went on to shout in her face and hit her multiple times.  

Deane attempted to separate them, before the man got involved and allegedly hit her from behind. The defendant then “turned his focus on her”, striking her multiple times “with a flurry of punches to her face and head”.

A witness of the incident called the attack on the lesbians “rage-filled” and recalled one of the victims shouting “help me”. 

At sentencing at Dublin’s Children’s Court on Wednesday (29 November), the teen was ordered to complete 160 hours of work or face a four-month term in custody in default. The attack was described as leaving the couple with “horrible injuries”. 

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The court heard that the teen was the main aggressor, with one of the victims needing five months to recover and suffering psychologically. McCabe suffered bruising to her neck, arms and hand, while her partner had soft tissue injuries, a black eye and swollen lips.

Judge Kelly told the teen was “very lucky to be walking out of here today”, and the defendant said he intended to write a letter of apology to the couple. 

The teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to 22-year-old Deane and her partner McCabe, 25, at Drumcondra Road Upper in the city’s north side earlier in May 2022.

The victims, who did not attend the hearing, presented victim impact statements to the court, which Judge Paul Kelly described as “shocking”. Their statements were also presented to the teenager. 

The teen, who has 12 convictions on his criminal record including eight robberies, attended the court accompanied by his mum.

The court heard he had experience turmoil in his family life connected to parental alcoholism and drug use and his defence submitted that he had medical problems also had an impact on his level of maturity. 

An adult accomplice is awaiting trial. 

Judge Kelly said the latest probation report stated that he was a “different young man to the one the court dealt with earlier this year” and he heard the boy had quit drugs.

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