herald

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Take splat! Boozed-up bridesmaid battered gig-goer in drink row

Waitress Gemma Finnegan assaulted fellow gig-goer at a Take That concert at the 3Arena
Waitress Gemma Finnegan assaulted fellow gig-goer at a Take That concert at the 3Arena

A drunk concert-goer took part in an "unprovoked attack" on another young woman at a Take That gig in Dublin, leaving the victim with clumps of hair pulled from her scalp.

Gemma Finnegan (30) assaulted the woman after a disagreement broke out over a spilled drink, a court heard.

Finnegan was celebrating being asked to be a bridesmaid and had drunk a "very large amount of drink".

Judge Brian Smyth adjourned the case for a victim impact statement, saying it must have been a very traumatic experience for the woman.

Finnegan, of Ballybay Road, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, pleaded guilty to violent dis- order and assault.

Dublin District Court heard the incident happened at the Take That concert in the 3Arena on May 16 last year.

Disagreement

The victim and her husband were socialising at the concert when she was allegedly assaulted by three people, a garda said.

The woman was kicked and punched on the head and body and "large clumps of hair were pulled from her scalp".

It was an unprovoked attack, the officer said.

The alleged assailants were people who were socialising near the victim, and it was believed the row started with a disagreement over a spilled drink.

Finnegan was co-operative with the investigation but did not make admissions when she was interviewed, saying that she was not part of an attack but had been involved in "a fight".

The court heard the victim suffered pain and bruising to her arms, neck and head.

A medical report on her injur- ies was presented to the court.

Judge Smyth asked the prosecuting garda if the victim had made a full recovery.

"Physically yes, but there were some psychological iss-ues," the officer replied.

The judge said this was "not surprising".

Finnegan had no previous convictions and had never come to the attention of the gardai before.

She worked as a waitress and came from a "very respectable background", her solicitor said.

She had been at the concert with her husband and sister-in-law, who had asked her to act as a bridesmaid.

This was not an excuse, but a "very large amount of drink" was taken.

Finnegan appreciated how serious the offence was and apologised to the victim, her lawyer added.

"It's a pretty appalling set of facts, it must have been a very traumatic experience for the injured party," Judge Smyth said.

Compensation

The court heard Finnegan's two co-accused had pleaded not guilty and that case would be heard in February.

The judge adjourned Finnegan's case to a date next month for a victim impact statement and said he would consider ordering a restorative justice report.

He also asked the garda to canvass the issue of possible compensation with the injured party.

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