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Wednesday 20 November 2019

Ex-partner of woman called 'Hulk' cleared of assaulting her in street

Keith Corcoran was cleared of assault causing harm to Alice Byrne
Keith Corcoran was cleared of assault causing harm to Alice Byrne

A man has been acquitted of assaulting and injuring his ex-partner, a woman with a violent past who was once described as being "like the Incredible Hulk".

Alice Byrne claimed Keith Corcoran kicked her from one side of a street to the other like he was "possessed".

However, Mr Corcoran insisted he only pushed Byrne away in self-defence as she had swiped at him with a bunch of keys, threatening to slice his face.

Judge Paula Murphy dismissed the case against Mr Corcoran at Dublin District Court.

Byrne (44), the alleged victim, was not charged with any offence.

She is currently serving a three-year sentence for an unrelated assault on a woman she kicked and punched outside a hospital.

The victim in that case described her as being "like the Incredible Hulk in strength and rage".

Mr Corcoran (43), of Charles Street North, Dublin 1, pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm to Byrne, who alleged he pushed her to the ground and stamped on her until she "thought I was going to die".

The confrontation happened during a family row outside Byrne's home at the Horizon Building, Royal Canal Park, Ashtown, on July 5 last year.

Giving evidence, Byrne claimed Mr Corcoran had "dived" on her, got her by the throat and kicked her in the chest.

"He destroyed me," she said, adding that when she was knocked to the ground, Mr Corcoran stamped on her.

"He was putting his feet on me, my chest, my back, everywhere," she said.

"I don't know how many times he stood on me. I thought I was going to die."

Byrne said she feared for her life, and afterwards there were "footprints all over me, bruises everywhere and tissue damage".

Under cross-examination, Byrne told defence solicitor Lorraine Stephens she had previously had drug and alcohol problems.

She denied attacking Mr Corcoran, but admitted kicking his car.

Ms Stephens said she was serving a sentence for assault and suggested she was "a violent person".

"I was, with alcohol," Byrne said, adding that her previous conviction arose from "a drunken mistake".

Mr Corcoran said Byrne had run at him "out of nowhere" and grabbed hold of him. There was pulling and shoving and she hit the ground, he said.

Mr Corcoran said he walked back to his car and Byrne came towards him holding a bunch of keys, swiping at him and saying: "I'm going to slice your face with these."

He put his foot up and grabbed her and she "flew back".

Mr Corcoran said all he did was defend himself and others.

Ms Stephens said that in the CCTV footage, Byrne was seen walking away from the scene unaided and was not limping.

Ferocious

Byrne had given evidence of a "ferocious, unprovoked attack", but that was not borne out by the CCTV footage, Ms Stephens said.

Mr Corcoran was entitled to use "reasonable, proportionate force" to protect himself.

Byrne was the aggressor, and "it would appear that this is a prosecution based on the fact that a man hit a woman", Ms Stephens said.

Byrne was sentenced last December for an unprovoked attack on a woman outside Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown.

She had pleaded guilty to that offence on August 13, 2017.

The victim was having a cigarette when Byrne attacked her, kicking her in the stomach and chest and leaving her covered in blood. She was given a four-year sentence, with one year suspended.

Judge Murphy said the prosecution had not proved the force used by Mr Corcoran was unreasonable and dismissed the charge.

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