A man who was cycling through Belfast and accidentally stabbed women for being insulted by a woman earlier that day has been sentenced to a total of 12 years.
ix women were attacked by Dermott McIlveen in October 2020 in what Judge Patrick Kinney QC described as a “violent killing spree”.
McIlveen appeared via video link with Maghaberry at Belfast Crown Court, where it was revealed he had been arrested after family members who saw a police appeal about the attacks contacted the PSNI.
From Carrigart Avenue in the city, McIlveen admitted a total of seven felonies committed on October 12, 2020. The charges include wounding, attempted wounding and possession of a knife with intent to cause wounding.
In handing out a nine-year sentence followed by a three-year extension to the sentence, Judge Kinney spoke about the impact the attacks had on all six victims.
The judge said: “There is a need to protect women from violence by men like the accused.”
Detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland have welcomed the sentence handed down to Dermott McIlveen at Laganside Court today.
McIlveen, 40, was sentenced to 12 years in prison – nine years on remand and three years on license – after pleading guilty to six counts of assault and one of possession of an assault weapon.
Afterwards, Detective Inspector Tom Phillips said McIlveen’s actions were “appalling”.
“He carried out these shocking attacks and randomly selected victims while cycling, at a number of locations from Belfast city center towards South Belfast. Four women were stabbed and two others were beaten,” he said.
“While thankfully none of the victims sustained life-threatening injuries, they were understandably left traumatized.
“I’m dying to acknowledge the courage of the victims who have come forward to assist our investigations. I am also grateful to a number of Witnesses who came forward quickly. That support was invaluable.
“While these young women and those who witnessed the attacks will never forget this horrific ordeal, I hope today’s sentencing provides reassurance that we will work tirelessly to bring criminals to justice and keep people safe to guarantee.”
McIlveen, who was diagnosed with autism when he was a child, rode a balance bike through the streets of Belfast city center and spent two hours attacking women.
The first victim noticed a man on a bicycle in the Cathedral Quarter, and after going to McDonald’s, she saw the same cyclist.
She noticed that he was holding a metal object, he collided with her and a short time later she noticed blood running down her leg and a cut on her right buttock.
The second woman was walking home from work and was attacked at a stop light on Ormeau Avenue.
After McIlveen approached and glared at her, he jabbed her in the left arm before driving off.
His third victim was with a friend in Donegall Square West. A bicycle came up behind her and as she walked over to let him pass, he stabbed her in the neck.
The fourth woman was on Bedford Street at around 8.55pm when a man on a bicycle hit her on the back of the head.
McIlveen attacked a fifth woman as she was walking down Dunluce Avenue and on that occasion he punched his victim in the throat.
The latest attack occurred around 9 p.m. on University Street, when McIlveen clipped a woman as he drove past and stabbed her in the hip.
QC David Russell said police had launched a full investigation into the attacks.
CCTV images of the attacker were released in a media campaign, and after recognizing McIlveen, two relatives contacted police.
McIlveen was arrested and claimed that although his memory of the attacks was not clear, he told police he had dated a woman on the day of October 12.
He said after this woman got up and left him alone in a bar he felt humiliated – and it led to a decision to go and hurt the woman as he believed women are responsible for everything what went wrong in his life.
McIlveen admitted he was about to punch one of the women in the face and said he attacked another woman when she made him “particularly angry” after stepping into the road as he drove past.
Judge Kinney said: “It is absolutely repulsive to think that this perceived rejection could in any way justify his actions by attacking vulnerable women in public places.
“The defendant engaged in a determined and premeditated campaign to harm innocent and vulnerable female victims.
“He made a conscious choice to attack young women and his violence had only one aim and that was to hurt women.”
The judge said that after reading the victims’ impact statements, “a common theme is the distress” of those McIlveen “who are subjected to such incidental and serious violence.”
The sight or sound of a bike can cause some “great uneasiness” while others have had to be hospitalized during the height of the Covid pandemic.
Defense attorney Patrick Lyttle QC said it was “pretty clear” his client would need help with a range of psychological issues in prison.
Judge Kinney said that while he accepted that there were medical issues, he agreed with a parole board assessment that McIlveen posed a serious risk of public harm and was a “dangerous offender.”
Based on that assessment, Judge Kinney imposed an extended sentence of nine years in prison, followed by an extended license term of three years to “protect the public.”
The ruling means McIlveen may not be automatically granted a license after serving half of his sentence.
His release will be decided by the Parole Commissioners and if that happens he will be on license for another three years.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/crime/man-who-cycled-around-belfast-stabbing-random-women-in-violent-rampage-is-jailed-41507808.html Man who cycled through Belfast and stabbed random women in ‘violent rampage’ is jailed