Criminal with 124 previous convictions needed drugs when he stabbed doctor on e-scooter

Attempted murder charge dropped against Christopher Coakley (31) for incident at Seville Place in Dublin

A criminal with 124 previous convictions needed money for drugs when he knocked a passerby from his e-scooter and stabbed him seven times with a pair of scissors, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Christopher Coakley (31) pleaded guilty in March to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm at Seville Place, Dublin, on January 28th, 2021.

He was previously charged with attempting to murder and rob his victim and producing scissors in the course of an assault. At a sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Karl Finnegan BL, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said that a nolle prosequi will be entered in relation to the attempted murder charge and asked the judge to take the robbery and production charges into account.

At the hearing, Garda Conor Byrne said that the victim is a doctor who worked at Mountjoy Prison in 2021. He had just finished his shift and was travelling along Seville Place in the north inner city at about 4pm on his e-scooter when Coakley, dressed in a dark grey tracksuit, approached him and kicked the handlebars of the scooter.


The victim fell to the ground and when he turned, he saw his attacker with a pair of scissors in his right hand trying to pull his backpack and scooter from him. He heard Coakley, whom he had never previously met, saying: “Who the f**k do you think you are? Give it to me now or I’ll stab you.”

When the victim tried to run away, still holding his backpack and scooter, Coakley hit him with the scissors in the head and neck and twice in the chest. The victim tried to run towards Spencer Dock but Coakley followed him and stabbed him a further three times in the stomach. When members of the public approached and tried to intervene, Coakley ran away and was seen throwing the scissors over a barbed wire fence before CCTV footage showed him heading towards his home at Empress Place.

Coakley was linked to the attack by CCTV footage and by DNA found on the victim’s backpack and jacket and was arrested in June 2021.

The victim was taken to hospital with penetrating wounds to the abdominal wall and chest, a head injury and a wound to the neck. He was discharged the following day but required ongoing physiotherapy. The doctor estimated his loss of earnings to be €3,850 and he lost a jacket, sweater and backpack that he estimated to be worth €400. His movement was restricted for several months and he was unable to engage in any physical activity for two months.

In a statement written by the victim, a Spanish native who has since changed jobs, he said that he had suffered anxiety since the attack and has a fear of harm when walking alone or when close to the area where Coakley attacked him.

He added: “I don’t think I will ever forget what happened to me but, hopefully with the passage of time, I will feel as safe as I did when I first came to Ireland.”

Gda Byrne said that Coakley has 124 previous convictions including for robbery, attempted robbery, assault, theft, carrying weapons, public order offences, criminal damage, misuse of drugs, possession of drugs in prison, threatening to kill and road traffic offences.

Michael O’Higgins SC, for Coakley, told Mr Justice Paul Burns that his client is a native of the North Strand area of Dublin and his mother, Paula Coakley, is “ironically” a prominent anti-drugs campaigner in the community. She has a number of children, some of whom have done “remarkably well”, he said, including one daughter who has a law degree. Ms Coakley had “made great efforts to keep [Christopher] on the straight and narrow but it was not to be,” Mr O’Higgins said.

Mr O’Higgins said Coakley started to abuse drugs aged 13 and by 15, was “heavily addicted” to cocaine, alcohol and cannabis. Since the age of 14, Coakley’s longest period out of custody is about six months, counsel said.

Besides his drug use, Mr O’Higgins said there is a suggestion from a psychological report drawn up for the court that Coakley may be suffering from bipolar disorder.

Mr Justice Burns said he will pass sentence on June 19th.