Man who beat chef with iron bar jailed for series of attacks in Donegal

Man Who Beat Chef With Iron Bar Jailed For Series Of Attacks In Donegal
John McGinley (19) admitted carrying out the attacks which left his victims with serious physical and mental scars for the rest of their lives.
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Stephen Maguire

A man who carried out a series of savage assaults, including beating a pizza chef almost unconscious with an iron bar, has been jailed for more than five years.

John McGinley (19) admitted carrying out the attacks which left his victims with serious physical and mental scars for the rest of their lives.


One of his victims suffered life-lasting facial injuries, while another man was struck 10 times with an iron bar about the head.

The accused appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court in Co Donegal where Judge John Aylmer told him it was "entirely fortuitous" that one of his victims did not die from his injuries.

That victim was Shidalan Rahaman, a pizza chef who was attacked and struck with a bar 10 times by McGinley as he got out of his car at the Ard Lonan estate at Long Lane in Letterkenny on March 13th, 2022.

Mr Rahaman, who attended the court, fell to the ground and was bleeding heavily after the vicious attack, but nobody responded to his calls for help. There was snow on the ground and he thought he was going to die from his injuries and the cold.


McGinley pleaded guilty to two other vicious assaults, as well as causing €7,500 worth of damage to a lorry parked up in Letterkenny.

In one of the other assaults on a young man, McGinley struck the victim so hard that the man had to have his eyelid rebuilt and was lucky not to have lost his eyesight.

Detective Garda Bobby Carey gave evidence of an attack at Hazelbrook Crescent in Letterkenny at 4.45am on August 24th, 2021.

Gardaí arrived after reports of men breaking a number of windows in the house where there was a man present who was bleeding and said he has been attacked by McGinley and some accomplices.


The house had been damaged downstairs and the attackers had left by taxi, while it was also claimed that McGinley had produced a shovel during the incident.

CCTV was gathered, but it was quite dark and the victims declined to make statements.

Criminal damage

McGinley, with an address at Glenard Park, Letterkenny, also pleaded guilty to criminal damage on November 1st, 2019, at a construction site at Long Lane, Letterkenny.

A Scania lorry was set upon and seriously damaged with a wing mirror broken, passenger window smashed, headlights and tail-lights smashed, a radio pulled out, windscreen wipers pulled off, and an indicator arm pulled off the steering wheel. The total damage came to €7,500.


Blood was found in the cabin of the vehicle and when DNA samples were taken it matched with samples from McGinley.

Detective Garda Derek Connaughton then outlined the details of the horrific attack on Mr Rahaman.

He told the court that Mr Rahaman had finished work and was getting out of his Toyota Yaris at Ard Lonan when he noticed a man walking around his boundary wall who began to run at him.

The man had a one-foot-long solid 'rod' in his hand and he hit the rod against his left hand demanding the key to Mr Rahaman's car. He then touched the victim's trousers, searching for the car key before proceeding to strike him with the bar.


Mr Rahaman fell to the ground saying the man was too strong for him saying he thinks he was struck as many as ten times. The attacker eventually got the key and took Mr Rahaman's car.

In his victim impact statement, Mr Rahaman explained how he thought at times that he could die if he lost consciousness as he was bleeding heavily as it was very cold and there was snow on the ground.

He did manage to get to Letterkenny University Hospital and received 16 stitches for wounds to his head and still has some scarring from the attack.

He was out of work for three months but still suffers from severe pain and is unable to work as fast as he could before because of injuries to his fingers he received while trying to protect himself from the blows of the bar.

He has moved from the Long Lane despite enjoying living there and ignoring claims from others that it was a rough area. He still cannot sleep at night and worries that he will never return to full health.

Detective Connaughton said in a follow-up investigation the victim's car was found crashed and abandoned at Kirkstown.

DNA was taken from the chassis of the car which matched John McGinley while the victim's blood was also found on McGinley's jacket.

The accused was arrested on April 22nd and interviewed three times at Letterkenny Garda station but said he could not remember what had happened.

He said he had heard of the incident on the news and was shown CCTV footage and said that if it was him that he wanted to apologise.q

Detective Carey gave evidence of another attack carried out by McGinley. It happened on June 26th, 2021 when Christopher Gibson claimed he was attacked at a house at Glenard Park.

Bottle attack

Evidence was given that McGinley accused Mr Gibson of "going with" his sister and accusing him of being too old for her before he suddenly struck him with a bottle.

Dazed and confused, the victim tried to leave the house when he was attacked by another man with a wheel brace in the back of the head.

He was taken to Letterkenny University Hospital and then transferred to Sligo University Hospital for specialist treatment on his eyes.

He received nine stitches and although his eyesight was saved, his eyelid had to be rebuilt and still hangs down a little, the court was told.

Mr Gibson knew the court case was on but declined to make a victim impact statement. Asked how he was today, Mr Gibson said he was not in a good place mentally but is glad the case is coming to a resolution and that he does not have to give evidence.

The court heard that McGinley has 22 previous convictions for a range of incidents including assault, burglary, criminal damage, possession of a knife, traffic matters and theft.

His barrister Mr Colm Smyth, directed by solicitor Rory O'Brien, produced a letter of apology from McGinley to his victims.

Mr Smyth said his client had left school at 13 and began smoking cannabis and taking drugs, which turned into a daily addiction.

However, he said McGinley believes his arrest for the attack on Mr Rahaman saved his life in many ways, as prison gave him the chance to manage his drug and alcohol addiction.

Mr Smyth admitted the attack and injuries to his victims "were quite horrific on any level" and that McGinley accepts whatever consequences.

He also added that his client suffers from epilepsy and ADHD. In the cold light of day he is now seriously ashamed of his actions, and he is now trying to deal with his anger management, he added.

Noting McGinley was a minor at the time, he sentenced him to six months in prison for the criminal damage to the truck.

Judge Aylmer said that it was entirely fortuitous that a more serious injury was not caused to the right eye of victim Christopher Gibson involving the loss of sight.

However, the judge added that by far the most serious offence was the assault and theft of Mr Rahaman's car. The court noted an aggravating feature of these was the fact the accused was on bail at the time.

After mitigation, Judge Aylmer sentenced McGinley to five years and four months in prison after suspending some of the sentences.

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