Attempted murder victim cannot contemplate how someone planned to end his life

Attempted Murder Victim Cannot Contemplate How Someone Planned To End His Life
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Alison O’Riordan

The victim of an attempted murder has said he cannot contemplate how someone planned to end his life by shooting him twice in the head, leaving him with a mouth full of shattered teeth and a hole in his throat, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Andrew O'Brien said in his victim impact statement that he was shot in the face at close range while sitting in his car and that all of his teeth on the left side of his mouth were shattered and broken.


He said he has a large burn scar on his face and a hole remains down the side of his throat. "My speech is also affected as a result of my teeth and bone loss. I am forced to eat with the right side of my teeth all the time," he said.

The court heard that the gunman, Sam Archbold (36), was a passenger in Mr O'Brien's car and had arranged to stop off under the pretext of collecting money to pay down a debt.

Archbold, with an address at Commons Road, Clondalkin in Dublin 22 pleaded guilty earlier this year to the attempted murder of Mr O'Brien at Cherrywood Grove, Clondalkin in Dublin 22 on April 8th, 2022. Mr O'Brien was hospitalised with non-life-threatening injuries after suffering two gunshots to the face.

Defence counsel Seamus Clarke SC informed the court on Tuesday that his client was arraigned on count one and that all other counts were taken into consideration.


The court heard that the victim had allowed his medical report to be released to gardai but had not provided a statement.

At Tuesday's sentence hearing, Inspector Dara Kenny detailed the background of the event, telling John Fitzgerald SC, prosecuting, that gardai were able to establish from CCTV footage and witnesses that Mr O'Brien had driven a Volkswagen Golf to a park beside Cherrywood Grove at 4.45pm on April 8th.

While the Volkswagen Golf was parked up, a man identified as the defendant Sam Archbold got out of the passenger seat of the vehicle and walked over to another car.

Archbold was later seen moving at greater pace towards the Golf and shooting Mr O'Brien in the face through the open passenger side window.


Dark clothing

Mr O'Brien got out of his car and made his way to a nearby house where he got assistance.

Counsel said that witnesses saw a man identified as Archbold dressed in dark clothing leaving the scene and said they heard two shots, described as two seconds apart.

The defendant was seen running from the scene into the park and through a river after taking Mr O'Brien's phone with him and his own phone, said counsel.

The victim's phone was never recovered by gardai but the following day a Nokia phone was handed into Clondalkin Garda Station, which a witness had found in the park.


"A number of people had rung that phone asking to speak to a 'Sam'. That phone was analysed, and it was found that Archbold had phoned Mr O'Brien on four occasions," said the barrister. The following day gardai received confidential information naming Sam Archbold.

Mr Fitzgerald said that Archbold's house was searched on the night of April 9th, but he was not there.

Wet clothing was found that was consistent with the defendant having run through the river and firearms residue was found on them, he said.

Gardai conducted a search near the park where Archbold had been seen loitering and two days later a lunch box containing a revolver and ammunition was found. The revolver was a British Bulldog revolver with six cartridges; four were full and two had been discharged. The ammunition was inside a ziplock bag contained within the lunch box.


The defendant's fingerprints were found on the lunch box and ammunition.

Archbold was arrested on Grafton Street on the afternoon of April 11th, three days after the shooting. He was arrested on 13 occasions and for the first nine interviews he mostly exercised his right to silence. In his first interview, Archbold told gardai: "I've never held a gun, I've never fired one".

The defendant later told gardaí that he had a drug problem, had built up a €2,000 debt and that someone was going to give him a loan, but there had been issues getting it.

He said his "ma's windows' had been smashed up, some third party had given him a gun and repeated that he didn't want to hit the victim in the face. "He goes on to say in relation to the second shot that this was also accidental," said the inspector.

Fractured teeth

The court heard that the first bullet entered Mr O'Brien's face below the left nostril, and he suffered seven fractured teeth.

The victim said he cannot contemplate that someone planned to end his life by shooting him in the head and that he was forced to sell his car when it was returned to him, as he couldn't bring himself to drive it again.

The court heard that Archbold has two previous convictions which relate to road traffic offences.

In his submissions to the court, Mr Clarke said his client accepted he had drug addiction problems and that his life was very chaotic in the six months prior to this offence with things escalating quite quickly by taking crack cocaine. Archbold, he said, had received threats for not paying debts owed.

Counsel said there had been contact between Archbold and the injured party in respect of a drug debt. Archbold had been a passenger in Mr O'Brien's car in the lead up to the incident and the pretext was to stop off to get money from someone else to pay a debt off, he said. All the gaps in the case hadn't been filled in, he said.

The lawyer said that his client had a job throughout this time when his drug addiction problem was getting out of control.

"There are no signs he had the propensity to commit violence and started using drugs heavily in 2002 and got loans from people. Now he is in custody he has come off drugs the hard way by not having access to them," he said.

A letter was handed up to the court from the defendant, who said he is remorseful for what he did. A letter from Archbold's mother said it was "completely out of sync from what she ever expected from her son".

Counsel reminded the judge that the defendant said in his interviews he never intended to kill Mr O'Brien and submitted that he was still a young man with a life ahead of him.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said that the case was a terrible illustration of what can go wrong when one starts taking recreational drugs and that people should take note. "It brings you into contact with serious criminality and those involved in it," he said.

The judge noted that the defendant was going to receive a lengthy sentence but that he will return to society, and it seemed to him that he has "enough between the ears to learn from the experience".

Mr Justice Hunt remanded Archbold in custody until October 2nd, when he will be sentenced.

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