herald

Monday 26 February 2018

Garda feared she would be pushed off edge of balcony

Elizabeth O’Shea was found guilty of assaulting two gardai
Elizabeth O’Shea was found guilty of assaulting two gardai

There were fears for the safety of a female garda when a mother-of-two gripped her by the hair and held her hanging backwards over a balcony wall at a flats complex.

Elizabeth O'Shea (48) pushed the garda, whose upper body leaned over the balcony's edge while her feet dangled off the ground.

The officer was rescued by colleagues and was unharmed but O'Shea's arm was broken in the struggle as she was restrained.

Schizophrenia

O'Shea, who has schizophrenia, pleaded not guilty to assaulting Gda Ciara Martin and another garda, Kalla Mangan, at her home at Henrietta House, Dublin 7.

Judge Kathryn Hutton found her guilty and adjourned the case for a pre-sentence probation report.

She was found not guilty of assaulting neighbour Alice O'Connor, who had alleged that O'Shea pinned her against a wall and grabbed her finger.

Dublin District Court heard gardai were called to the scene of a disturbance on September 3 last year.

O'Shea was shouting and agitated, so Gda Mangan sugg- ested they go into her flat for privacy.

The accused began saying "get out" and pushed Gda Martin aggressively out the door.

O'Shea grabbed Gda Martin's hair, slapped her across the face and pushed her back so that she was hanging from the waist up over the balcony.

"Obviously I got a massive shock, I wasn't expecting it," said Gda Martin. "Luckily, I had the other gardai there with me."

Gda Mangan said O'Shea had Gda Martin "literally at the edge" of the balcony, leaning backwards "as if she was going to fall over the edge" and they feared for her safety.

The other two officers ran out and restrained O'Shea, bringing her face down on to the ground. There was a struggle and Gda Martin became aware the accused's arm was broken.

Gda Mangan said the accused slapped her on the face, then tried to bite her "at least 20 times" when she was on the ground. They restrained the accused as best they could.

Prised

In cross-examination, the gardai denied they "made up" their accounts because the accused had been injured.

Gda Barry Purcell said O'Shea was "very strong" and the "most violent lady I ever dealt with". Her hands had to be prised from Gda Martin's hair.

He denied in cross-examination that he delivered a "flying kick" to O'Shea's arm or knelt on her back.

O'Shea claimed that one garda stood on her foot and another punched her ribs and Gda Purcell kicked her arm.

She denied pushing Gda Martin to the balcony, saying she only put her hands up in self-defence.

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