Teen jailed for hitting pregnant woman
A teenager has been jailed for two years for an unprovoked attack on a pregnant woman as she walked home from work.
Shane Purcell (19) punched the woman, who was six months pregnant, as she was walking along Princes Street in Cork city centre.
Cork Circuit Criminal Court was told shocked pedestrians rushed to her aid when she was attacked last year.
In a separate incident, Purcell hit a man with a crutch.
The teenager, of Seminary Court, Blackpool, Cork, admitted two counts of assault.
Judge Gerard O'Brien was told that, as the woman walked along Princes Street at 7pm last November 29, the defendant and two other youngsters approached her from the opposite direction.
Without warning or provocation, Purcell punched her in the face.
Another pedestrian, shocked by the incident he had just witnessed, immediately chased after Purcell.
The woman had taken the full force of the blow around her left eye socket.
She eventually made it home to her husband without major ill-effects to herself or her unborn child.
Purcell was later identified by gardai from CCTV footage, although he initially insisted it was not him.
He said he had been attending a family event at the time of the assault.
Judge O'Brien was told that, in April, Purcell was with another group of youngsters in Farren Street, Cork, when a householder confronted them about the noise they were making in the area.
When he politely asked them to quieten their activities, Purcell struck him over the head with a crutch.
The man was uninjured but shocked by what happened.
Judge O'Brien was told that Purcell has 44 previous convictions.
The court heard he lost two family members in tragic circumstances and that this had had a major impact on him.
Judge O'Brien warned that none of this excused assaults on innocent people going about their daily lives.
He also said that many people suffer tragedies but do not behave in a violent fashion towards others.
He jailed Purcell for three years but suspended the final 12 months in light of his guilty plea.