herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Tourist pulled woman to the ground by her hair on street

A PORTUGUESE tourist kicked a young woman in the back and dragged her to the ground by the hair when he flew into a rage because she bumped into him as he walked down a street in south Dublin.

Shocked bystanders had to pull Alexander Afonso (25) away from the victim as he stood over her, roaring at her in Portuguese after the unprovoked attack.

Dublin District Court heard he had been staying in the Burlington Hotel on a five-day break in Ireland paid for by his family, who thought the holiday might do his medical condition "some good".

However, he had not been taking prescribed medication for a personality disorder and "overreacted" to the encounter with the victim, who is in her mid-20s.

Afonso, with an address at Rua Sarmento Bieres, Porto, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to the woman at Leeson Street Upper on August 30 last.

Garda Kieran Houlihan of Donnybrook Garda Station told the court the accused had been walking down the street when the woman bumped into him and continued walking.

He kicked her from behind, grabbed her by the hair and pulled her to the ground, where he stood over her, shouting in his native language.

Passers-by pulled him away and he was later identified by the victim to gardai.

The court heard medical attention was offered to the victim, who declined treatment. She had pains in her legs and head but had no visible injuries.

"She was more shaken than anything," Garda Houlihan said.

Afonso's parents were separated and his mother was in court, his solicitor Murrough O'Rourke said.

He was on medication for a condition and had not taken it on the day. The accused's family had thought it "might do him some good to come here for a holiday" and he had been in Ireland for five days. He accepted that he had over-reacted and it was something he "shouldn't have done", Mr O'Rourke said.

"He is very sorry it happened and hopes to go back home to Portugal tomorrow," he added.

It was a very unfortunate incident, but the victim didn't seem to have suffered any injuries, he said.

Garda Houlihan said the accused's mother had explained he suffered from a personality disorder. A doctor had come to the garda station, assessed him and found him fit for interview and court. Afonso had no previous convictions.

"During interview, he was very apologetic and expressed that he realised it was wrong", the garda said.

Judge McLoughlin applied the Probation Act, leaving the accused without a conviction after Afonso's mother paid €140 to charity on his behalf.

aphelan@herald.ie

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