Two brothers have been jailed for 10 years after they wreaked havoc on a rural Kilkenny community on Christmas Day, assaulting a man which resulted in him being in an induced coma and in hospital for several months.

Glen and Colin Murphy, with an address at 7 Kyleshall, Raheendoran, Co Carlow, both pleaded guilty to a number of charges when they appeared before Kilkenny Circuit Criminal Court.

The brothers had been remanded in custody since 26 December 2022.

Detective Garda Francis Brennan, in evidence to the court, outlined the defendant Glen Murphy had entered guilty pleas to criminal damage to an MPV, criminal damage to Eir telegraph poles, two counts of assault causing harm and the unauthorised taking of a John Deere tractor.

His brother Colin Murphy pleaded guilty to criminal damage and arson of an MPV and assault causing harm.

A number of the victims and their family members were present in court for the sentencing.


Detective Garda Brennan told the court that on Christmas Day 2022, gardaí received a number of calls on the emergency line.

The two brothers were staying at their grandparents' home in a rural part of Carlow at the time for Christmas. The offences all took place between 9pm and 11.15pm on Christmas night.

On the night in question, the brothers left their grandparents' home and went for a 'ramble'.

At approximately 9pm, a tractor was stolen from a nearby farm and, shortly after, a lady was travelling in the area when she came upon the tractor which had been crashed and was partially blocking the rural road.

Prior to this, the tractor had crashed a number of times and had hit telecommunications poles.

An estimate from Eir for the damage caused was €1,722 and the internet and telecommunications in the area were down for a period of time as a result of the damage caused.


The court heard that the woman had no option but to stop her vehicle and the two males in the tractor exited and attempted to get into her vehicle and demanded that she take them to a location of their choosing.

The woman called her brother who lived a short distance away.

The woman's brother jumped into their car and made his way to the scene. He stopped and approached his sister's car and saw the two suspects in the car with her.

On his arrival, the suspects emerged from the car and confronted and violently assaulted the man using a glass vodka bottle.

Glen Murphy struck the injured party with the bottle causing a gash to his head. The injured party managed to escape to a neighbour's house and took shelter there.

The two men continued the attack on the injured party's car and caused damage to the windows. A number of people, including the woman who was still at the scene and other neighbours, rang gardaí.

The two men left the scene on foot and were walking towards their grandparents' house up a narrow rural road.


A short time later, a number of people heard a commotion, including dogs barking, shouting and screaming and what sounded like shots being fired and the sky lighting up with flames.

A number of neighbours, along with the woman who had been travelling in her car when she came upon the crashed tractor and her brother, walked in the direction of the suspects and saw a fire in the road and that a vehicle had been set on fire and was fully engulfed in flames.


The unconscious body of a neighbour was lying on the road and the person, who initially could not be identified due to his significant injuries, was covered in blood and his top had been removed. There was debris on the road, including paperwork and other documents which identified the man.

Gardaí arrived at the scene and had to proceed on foot as the road was blocked. The suspects had fled and gardaí carried out a search of the area, while others performed first aid on the injured man until an ambulance arrived.

Detective Garda Brennan told the court that one of the suspects, Glen Murphy, had identified himself as "a Murph from Bagenalstown" to the woman in the car and that one of the defendants was identified from a Facebook page.

The scenes were fully examined by gardaí and searches were conducted throughout the next day. As part of the search, a firearm was located in a neighbouring field and was in a broken condition.

The firearm had been in the possession of the man who was assaulted and left unconscious and was a legally held firearm that was held in his house.

Colin Murphy had also posted on social media with a bottle of Grey Goose vodka on Christmas Day and search of the scene located parts of the bottle with the logo present.

The court also heard that Colin Murphy had retrieved the bottle of Grey Goose vodka from the tractor.


Gardaí spoke to the grandmother of the suspects and the two men were arrested and interviewed.

Detective Garda Brennan said that Colin Murphy was interviewed on a number of occasions.

The court heard that, at first, the defendant did not engage, but as the interview progressed and a memoir of his brother was read over to him, he made certain admissions.

Glen Murphy admitted taking the tractor and crashing it and assault on the man who had been left unconscious on the road. Colin Murphy admitted arson and assault causing harm.

A medical report was handed into the court on behalf of the man who was assaulted with the bottle earlier in the night.

The report stated that the man was seen by medical staff at 1.27am on 26 December 2022, with bruising and swelling and pain to the right eye and a wound to the head.

In relation to the second man, who was unconscious at the scene and was brought to St Luke's Hospital by ambulance, the court heard that on arrival he was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and the ICU liaised with Beaumont Hospital in relation to the man's head injuries, which were described as "traumatic brain injuries".

Induced coma

These injuries resulted in the man spending a large number of days in an induced coma. The man, who also had a laceration to his ear, was put on a ventilator on 26 December and remained on it until 12 January and was discharged from hospital on 20 February 2023.

The injured man is a 65-year-old farmer, who, at the time of the attack, was running the family farm. Prior to the assault, the man worked seven days a week and was very active.

In his victim impact statement read out in court, the man stated that following the attack "life turned upside down, never to return to before" and that his recovery was "slow and painful".

The court heard that Glen Murphy had 52 previous convictions, including convictions for burglary, the unauthorised taking of an MPV, assault causing harm, threat to kill or cause serious harm, criminal damage, trespass, theft, drugs offences, handling stolen property and public order offences.

Colin Murphy had 36 previous convictions, including convictions for road traffic offences, public order offences, theft, trespass, criminal damage, burglary, assault and the unauthorised taking of an MPV.

David Bulbulia BL for Glen Murphy said: "It appears that Glen and his brother were highly intoxicated and were drinking vodka and taking tablets."

His client had expressed regret for the assault and for the series of incidents that commenced with the unlawful taking of the tractor and escalated from there.

Kathleen Leader BL representing Colin Murphy said that her client had told gardaí that he spent Christmas Day drinking beer and vodka and took some prescription medications before he left his grandparents' house and left to go for a "ramble".

Judge Cormac Quinn described the offences as "a substantial crime spree".

Judge Quinn convicted Glen Murphy of criminal damage to an MPV and sentenced him to two years and sentenced him to a further two years for criminal damage to the Eir poles.

He also imposed a three-year sentence for the assault causing harm to the man he struck with a bottle and handed down a five-year sentence for the assault on the man who was left unconscious on the road. All sentences are to run consecutively, with the final two years suspended.

In relation to Colin Murphy, he convicted him of arson and sentenced him to seven years and sentenced him to a further five years for assault causing harm.

The judge suspended the final two years for both subject to conditions including that they stay away from Ballygurteen and Castlewarren for a period of five years after their release from prison and that they keep the peace in prison and on release for two years.