herald

Wednesday 28 September 2016

No jail for mum who harassed pal with food orders

Aisling McCann was going through a difficult time
Aisling McCann was going through a difficult time

A woman has avoided prison after she admitted harassing a former family friend for two months over some "mild school banter" between their young daughters.

Aisling McCann (34) began making anonymous silent phone calls to the victim from a blocked number last September.

Over the next two months she harassed the woman by sending anonymous emails insulting her daughter and telling her to keep away from her children.

She would also order food online and have it delivered to the woman's house and ordered taxis to pick her up at home.

McCann, of Oaklands Park, Swords, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to nine charges of harassment on various dates between last September 11 and 22.

Gda Sgt Gerry Holland told Tom Neville, prosecuting, that the harassment grew out of some "very mild school banter" that was taken out of proportion by McCann.

Judge Melanie Greally noted that McCann was going through a difficult and vulnerable stage in her life. Instead of confiding in family members she was trying to manage her stress by drinking alcohol.

Remorseful

Judge Greally said she was suspending a 12-month prison sentence after taking into consideration the woman's lack of any other convictions and her early guilty plea.

When gardai went to McCann's house last December she owned up.

Sgt Holland told the court she was completely remorseful at that time. He said the harassment stopped immediately after gardai confronted her.

Before it was traced to McCann, the harassment caused the victim fear and was very distressing to her and her family. Sgt Holland said that the former family friendship was now severed and irrecoverable.

Patrick Jackson, defending, said his client came from a decent family. He said they wished to thank the garda sergeant for his sensitivity in dealing with the matter.

He told the court the two women's daughters had been friends and that McCann's daughter told her mother about some "very innocent innocuous comment".

Counsel said McCann was drinking at the time and was under stress because her family home was in negative equity.

Sgt Holland said she had made the calls and sent the emails from her own smartphone and it was easy for gardai to trace them back to her.

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