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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Eimer McAuley/The Journal Caio Benicio

'It was pure instinct': Brazilian Deliveroo driver tells of moment he stopped Parnell Street attacker

The 43-year-old dad of two saw the incident unfolding, got off his bike, and used his helmet to stop the attack.

DELIVEROO DRIVER CAIO Benicio was on his motorbike this afternoon, on a job, when he saw a man with a knife attacking a young girl on Parnell Square East.

Immediately, the 43-year-old Brazilian dismounted his bike, took off his helmet, and hit the attacker with it.

“I didn’t even make a decision, it was pure instinct, and it was all over in seconds. He fell to the ground, I didn’t see where knife went, and other people stepped in,” he told The Journal tonight.

“I have two kids myself, so I had to do something. I did what anyone would do. People were there but they couldn’t step in because he was armed, but I knew I could use my helmet as a weapon.”

Tonight, all of Benicio’s thoughts are on the five-year-old girl, who he saw brutally attacked, and her condition.

“I am praying, it’s all I am thinking of. I saw her in the ambulance, she looked so vulnerable, I had to go with gardaí then. I am waiting for news about her. I am hoping,” he said.

“If a child didn’t survive, I would always think, I could have been faster. I chose to have surgery on my knee recently, it made me slow to get off the bike, could I have been faster?

“If all the victims survive, I will be thankful that I was in the right place, at the right time,” he said.

He added that a creche worker who was with the children did all she could to try and protect them. 

Now Benicio is exhausted – all day he has been running on adrenaline. He doesn’t know where his bike is as he left it at the scene inside of the Garda cordon. However, he’s  not worried about it; he’s worried about the victims.

“I remember it all in flashes now. It was over in seconds it seemed,” he said.

Benicio came to Ireland for work after his restaurant burned down in Brazil. He hopes his children can come here one day.

He was saddened to see the chaos on Dublin’s streets tonight – with anti-immigrant sentiments being expressed by rioters and far-right actors.

“It looks like they hate immigrants. Well I am an immigrant, and I did what I could to try and save that little girl,” he said.