herald

Saturday 21 October 2017

Feuding neighbours tore each other's hair

VIOLENCE: Four former friends had melee in the street

MEMBERS of two families attacked each other in two separate clashes when a bitter feud between them erupted into violence, a court heard.

One woman had clumps of her hair torn out of her scalp by a neighbour outside her house and a couple brawled on the street with a man while their hysterical children watched from a parked car.

Dublin District Court heard the dispute started with a row between two young mothers over their children and escalated over two years.

One man alleged that at one point in the run up to the clash, a gun was put into his face over claims that he had spat on another man's child.

The only charges to be brought were of common assault against the neighbours, who had all grown up together and were previously friends.

Husband and wife Karl (33) and Natasha Fallon (33), their next-door neighbour Caroline Gill (27) and her brother Michael Gill (30) were all convicted of assault in the incidents near their homes in Clondalkin on April 20, 2009.

Judge Anthony Halpin put them all on peace bonds of different lengths, while he adjourned the case against Natasha Fallon for a community service suitability report, saying he found her assault on Caroline Gill the most serious. A charge against Michael Gill's partner Jeanette Tierney (27) was dismissed.

The Fallons and Caroline Gill of Pinewoods, Clondalkin as well as Michael Gill and Ms Tierney, of Cherrywood Park had denied all the charges.



MESS

The court heard in the first of the two incidents, Natasha Fallon pulled Caroline Gill's hair from behind when they were outside their next-door houses. She turned and then grabbed onto Natasha Fallon's hair. Caroline Gill had "a significant amount of hair torn from her scalp", but Judge Halpin ruled that her reaction was "not purely self defence" and that she also assaulted Natasha Fallon.

Later that night, the Fallons were returning home with their nine-year-old and one-year-old children when they passed Michael Gill and Ms Tierney driving in the opposite direction at St John's Grove.

Words were exchanged between them and they all got out of their cars. A melee ensued that Judge Halpin described as a "frenzied mess". In it, Karl Fallon and Michael Gill assaulted each other and Natasha Fallon assaulted Ms Tierney.

While this was happening, the Fallons' children were watching from the jeep and "screaming and crying".

Michael Gill and Ms Tierney claimed Karl Fallon some months earlier had pulled a handgun on Michael Gill because of an allegation that he had spat on one of the Fallon's children.

The court heard gardai had carried out a search, found no gun and no prosecution was ever brought.

aphelan@herald.ie

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