A man who attacked a transgender woman with a knife and demanded that she provide him with free sex has received a fully suspended sentence.
Liam Vickers (23) also threatened the victim's roommate when they attempted to intervene. He instructed the victim to delete his phone number and text messages from her phone before he left her home.
Vickers of Swifts Grove, Clonshaugh, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm in an apartment in Dublin city centre in the early hours of September 30, 2017. He has two previous convictions for driving while holding a mobile phone and failure to appear.
The court heard his father pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering his mother in 2009.
Judge Elma Sheahan had previously adjourned sentencing, ordering that Vickers follow all directions of the probation service and directing that drug testing be carried out each month.
Passing sentencing on Friday, Judge Sheahan said Vickers has been visited with great challenges in his young life and has made significant strides in the last 18 months.
Judge Sheahan said this was a serious assault on a person who was vulnerable. She said she cannot place to one side the Vickers' own experience in young life “which was horrific on any level”.
She noted that he has fully co-operated with the Probation Service, engaged with restorative justice and as a result reduced his risk of reoffending, She also noted he is in employment and dealing with his alcohol intake in therapy.
Judge Sheahan sentenced Vickers to two years imprisonment, but suspended the entirety of the sentence for three years on strict conditions including that he follow all directions of the Probation Service and pay €2,000 in compensation to the victim within 12 months.
At an earlier sentence hearing, Garda Sergeant Karl Colgan told Derek Cooney BL, prosecuting, that the victim worked at the time as an escort and on the date in question she got a call from Vickers to see if she was free.
After she brought Vickers into her bedroom he took out a large knife and tried to stab her in the face. She blocked the attack and was wounded in her arm and her cheek.
Vickers pointed the knife at her and asked for free sex, which she refused. Her roommate attempted to intervene and was also threatened with the knife.
He told the victim to sit on the bed and delete his phone number and texts from her mobile phone. She deleted his texts and he walked calmly from the room, but she did not delete her call history and saved his phone number.
During interview with gardaí, Vickers said that he had been drinking in a park earlier that day and that he had consumed half a litre of vodka as well as taking cocaine and sleeping pills. He said he found the knife in the park and took it with him because he was paranoid about “being robbed”.
In a victim impact statement, which was read out in court, the woman said she was attacked a second time with a knife after this incident and that she has lost her ability to trust people.
She said she now feared to be alone and said that although her native Brazil was famous for being a violent country, she had never been attacked while she lived there.
Sgt Colgan agreed with Dean Kelly SC, defending, that his client's mother was murdered by his father in 2009 and that his father is currently serving a life sentence of imprisonment.
Mr Kelly said his client acknowledges that this “violent and cowardly offence” is aggravated by its victim being a person working far from home in a line of work that might dissuade them from approaching gardaí.
He said that Vickers has significant empathy for what the injured party experienced and that he is remorseful and ashamed of his actions.