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Sunday 17 December 2017

Women claim garda 'punched and kicked them' in row over lift

Garda Brian Hanrahan claims he acted in self-defence after Emer Kelly attacked him in a row over a lift
Garda Brian Hanrahan claims he acted in self-defence after Emer Kelly attacked him in a row over a lift

A young garda who survived a holiday shooting in the United States was accused of punching two young women in a row over a €15 fee for a lift home.

Garda Brian Hanrahan (34) appeared before Nenagh District Court accused of assaulting the two women, who sobbed as they testified about how he had punched and kicked them near the isolated Lisboney graveyard in north Tipperary last year.

Judge Elizabeth MacGrath reserved judgement until February 10 after hearing the evidence.

She said she wanted to take time to consider the matter.

The garda, who was off duty at the time, insisted to the court he only acted in self-defence after he claimed one of the young women "launched herself" at him in a row over the lift fee.

Stunned

"She [Emer Kelly] got out of the car and attacked me. She wanted me to pay €50. The last thing I wanted or desired was an altercation of any description after what had happened in New Orleans," Gda Hanrahan said.

"I did everything I could to stop it [the confrontation]. I wasn't trying to hurt her. I was trying to stop her.

"I couldn't get away from her. She was kind of stunned [after the blow]. Then she sat down and started crying.

"If I hit her the way she said I hit her she would be black and blue all over.

"I am sorry she sustained an injury - but if I am attacked I am going to defend myself," he said.

Michelle O'Connell, for the State, said gardai became aware of an incident in Nenagh at about 4am on March 6 last year.

Ms Kelly was in Nenagh with her friends Aisling King and Ellen Nyhill.

Gda Hanrahan approached the young women and agreed to pay them €15 to €20 for the lift to his home at Ballintotty, Nenagh. None of the women knew him.

"It was a weird situation after a while. He was very rude. He said that Nenagh was full of scumbags," Ms Kelly said.

Gda Hanrahan also described Nenagh as "a s**thole" and "a kip."

When one of the young women joked that Nenagh men would not like to hear such derogatory comments about their town, Ms Kelly said Gda Hanrahan replied that he would fight anyone who took him on.

The women then asked him to get out of their car.

"Aisling went to drive off but I said I will ask him for the money. I didn't want her to leave without him giving her something," Ms Kelly said.

"The door was between me and Brian. He pulled my hair and beat me to the ground," Ms Kelly sobbed.

"He kicked me in the face while I was on the ground.

"I covered my head. I left my mouth open and that is why the damage was caused to my teeth."

Ms Kelly subsequently required €510 worth of dental repair treatment.

Blood

"He kicked or punched me about six or eight times. I couldn't touch my mouth it was so sore."

Ms Kelly, who is five-foot tall, rejected defence claims that she had attacked Gda Hanrahan, who is six foot.

Ms King said she jumped out of the car when she realised something was happening with her friend.

"He had pulled her hair. Then she [Emer] was on the ground. He was hitting her. It seemed to go on forever," Ms King wept.

"I said 'stop, stop, please stop. Please'. But he hit me twice in the face. There was blood all over Emer's face."

A passing motorist, Eddie Ryan, stopped to help the young women. "I saw Mr Hanrahan holding her [a young woman] by the hair," he said.

Gda Hanrahan, of Newcastle West Garda Station, Co Limerick, denied two assaults contrary to Section 3 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Persons Act.

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