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Bus inspector's hepatitis fear after woman bit and spat at him

A HEPATITIS sufferer bit and spat on Dublin Bus's chief inspector, leaving him with a terrifying six-month wait before he got the all-clear.

Samantha Murray (37) was given a one-month suspended sentence for the drink and medication-fuelled attack on Gary Kelly while he was on duty on the top deck of a city bus.

Murray, of Corcoran Terrace, Ballina, Co Mayo, pleaded guilty to charges of assault, public drunkenness and causing a breach of the peace on the number 27 bus at Marino Mart, Fairview on March 16, 2009.



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Garda Ciara Kirwan told the court that when she got on the bus, she saw Murray (pictured) being restrained by an inspector.

"She got up off the chair she was sitting on, stood up, brought up mucous from her chest and spat at Gary Kelly, the inspector," Garda Kirwan said.

The accused also bit Mr Kelly on the hand.

The garda pointed out that Murray's appearance at the time of the assault was "quite different".

The accused's build had been "extremely broad" and she had been a lot heavier than she is now, Garda Kirwan said.

Murray continued to be violent and the garda needed assistance to restrain her.

"Her size was so large, I found it difficult to fit the handcuffs around her wrist," the garda said, adding that the accused was under the influence of drink and drugs.

After she was arrested, the accused made the garda aware of her medical conditions including Hepatitis B and was released and brought to Beaumont Hospital for medical attention.

Mr Kelly also sought medical attention because of the nature of Murray's condition.

The accused had three previous convictions for offences dating from the 1990s.

On the night, the defendant had been drinking and had taken heavy painkillers and antidepressants.

She should not have been drinking because she had cirrhosis of the liver but her mother had died.

Since the incident, she had developed an infection in her hip and had fallen on top of that, breaking her hip.

Murray was currently in a wheelchair awaiting a hip replacement. "She is in very bad health," her barrister said.

Judge Bridget Reilly said the victim had been "put in fear" by the assault.

"It is intolerable that she created a situation such as was visited on Mr Kelly," the judge said.

She suspended the sentence for a year on condition that the accused keeps the peace and is of good behaviour.

Speaking after the case, Dublin Bus area manager Mark Kelly said: "In my 10 years with responsibility for revenue protection, it is probably the nastiest incident I came across.

"We have to put up with verbal abuse on a daily basis, but this was particularly horrific."

He said Gary Kelly had been under the care of the CIE Group's chief medical officer until he was given a clean bill of health.

He said plain-clothes inspectors had been on the bus when their attention was drawn to someone in Murray's company who was smoking.

The victim was assaulted when Mr Kelly confronted them in uniform.

aphelan@herald.ie