A 40-year old man who cycled round Belfast stabbing random women because he had been slighted by a female earlier that day was handed a sentence totalling 12 years on Thursday .
A total of six women were attacked by Dermott McIlveen in October 2020 in what Judge Patrick Kinney QC described as a “violent rampage.”
McIlveen appeared at Belfast Crown Court via a videolink with Maghaberry, where it emerged he was 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 offences committed on October 12th, 2020. The charges include wounding, attempted wounding and possession of a knife with intent to commit wounding.
As he imposed a sentence of nine years in custody followed by a period of three years extended licence, Judge Kinney spoke of the impact the attacks have had on all six victims.
The Judge said: “There is a need to protect women from violence by men such as the defendant.”
McIlveen, who was diagnosed with Autism in his childhood, cycled around the streets of Belfast City Centre on a bicycle attacking women over a two-hour period.
The first victim noticed a man on a bike in the Cathedral Quarter, and after walking to McDonald’s, she saw the same cyclist.
She noticed he had a metal object in his hand, he bumped into her and short time later she noticed blood running down her leg and a cut to her right buttock.
The second woman was walking home from work and was attacked at a set of traffic lights on Ormeau Avenue.
After McIlveen approached her and stared at her, he jabbed her in her left arm before cycling off.
His third victim was with a friend in Donegall Square West. A bicycle came behind her, and as she stepped over to let him past he stabbed her in the neck.
The fourth woman was in Bedford Street around 8.55pm when a male on a bike hit her on the back of the head.
McIlveen attacked a fifth woman as she walked along Dunluce Avenue, and on this occasion he punched his victim in the throat.
The final attack occurred around 9pm on University Street, when McIlveen brushed up against a woman as he cycled past her and stabbed her in the hip.
Crown barrister David Russell said that following the attacks, police launched an extensive investigation.
McIlveen was arrested and claimed that whilst his memory of the attacks was not clear, he told police he had been on a date with a female on the day of October 12th. He said that after this woman got up and left him sitting on his own in a bar, he felt humilitated – and this led to a decision to go and hurt woman as he felt female were responsible for everything that had gone wrong in his life.
Judge Kinney said: “It is an utterly repugnant idea that this perceived rejection could in some way justify his actions in attacking vulnerable females in public places.”
Judge Kinney said that while he accepted there were medical issues, he agreed with a Probation Board assessment that McIlveen posed a serious risk of harm to the public and was a ‘dangerous offender.’