Sunday 19 November 2017

Mother punched life-long pal in face after gossip claim

Sinead O’Connell admitted attacking her friend on a night out
Sinead O’Connell admitted attacking her friend on a night out

A mother-of-two punched her life-long friend repeatedly in the face after accusing her of "spreading gossip".

Sinead O'Connell (45) had been pals with Sandra McNeill before she attacked her in a drunken row on a night out, a court heard.

Ms McNeill said she spent weeks at home with severe bruising on her face following the assault, but forgave the accused.

Judge Anthony Halpin adjourned the case for a restorative justice programme report.

O'Connell, of Limekiln Green, Greenhills, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm.

Dublin District Court heard the incident happened at Whitehall Road West, Perrystown, on March 3 last year.

Gda Sgt Eimear Curran said the two women had been out drinking when they got into a row.

O'Connell accused the victim of spreading gossip about her and her family, became highly aggressive and hit the victim a number of times in the face with her fist.

The pair then shared a taxi home. The victim received texts of apology from the accused, who called to her home the next day to attempt to make amends.

Anxiety

Ms McNeill, who is also a mother-of-two, said she spent a number of weeks at home with bruising, and her young son "had to look at his mother like that".

She could not leave the house because of anxiety.

She understood that O'Connell was under stress herself, and asked Judge Halpin not to convict her.

"I forgive her, she was a good friend, we were friends all our lives," she said.

She added that she had been shocked as the accused had never struck her before and felt she had to go through with the case because she had been marked.

Defence solicitor Yvonne Bambury said O'Connell's immediate response was to apologise. She had never been in any kind of trouble before.

Judge Halpin said he thought the victim's wish for the accused not to be convicted was a "very charitable gesture".

He believed the friendship had not been "fully lost" and there was a lot of "mending here today".

Adjourning the case, he said a restorative justice programme "might ultimately result in mending some bridges".

He remanded the accused on continuing bail, to appear in court again in September.

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