A man has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to charges connected to beating an 86-year-old woman suffering from early-onset dementia for 42 minutes and then pushing her into an outdoor garbage bin in Dublin, Ireland. He said he thought that she was transgender and therefore was “a predatory pedophile,” repeating language often used by anti-transgender activists.
Alex Bailey, 30, said that he had taken so many drugs that night that he was in a state of “induced psychosis” and believed that the victim, Marie MacGowan, was a “man dressed up as a woman,” according to the Irish Times. She was actually trying to find her way home and was lost when she was attacked around 2 a.m.
CCTV footage shows that he spent over an hour harassing her and beating her sporadically over a period of 42 minutes. He knocked her to the ground during this time.
She got up and he pushed her head-first into a garbage bin. He tried to close the garbage bin’s lid on her, and it fell over. When she got out, Bailey punched her in the face and kicked her, police told the court.
“I really thought I was going to be dead,” MacGowan told the police later.
The horrifying attack only ended when three students who were walking by came to help her. CCTV footage shows Bailey talking to the students as they helped MacGowan, who was covered in blood and shaking, sitting on the curb.
MacGowan told the students what had happened and that Bailey had stolen her wallet too. The students later told police that Bailey told them to stay away from MacGowan because she was a dangerous pedophile. Bailey had left before the police arrived.
MacGowan was treated for a broken nose and blood loss, and even though she was living independently when she was attacked, she was forced to move into a nursing home since she now constantly falls due to a lack of balance following the attack. It’s unlikely she’ll ever leave the nursing home. She wasn’t able to walk for weeks after the attack.
Police were able to use the CCTV footage to follow where Bailey went earlier in the night and track him down. They arrested him 12 days after the attack. He pled guilty to charges of assault causing harm, robbery of cash, and false imprisonment.
“It has impacted her life in a major way and significantly reduced her quality of life,” MacGowan’s son, Jack MacGowan, said in the impact statement, where he said that Bailey “nearly killed her.” She still says, “Please stop killing me” and “Are you trying to kill me?” and has bouts of shaking.
The judge sentenced Bailey to three years in prison, with six months suspended on the condition that he behave in prison, abstain from alcohol and drugs, submit to random drug tests after release, and attend a rehabilitation program. The maximum possible sentence was five years, but she took his remorse, guilty plea, and “good work history” into account.