Monday 11 December 2017

Ciara Lynch intimidates grandmother and daughter in Limerick, court hears

Barry Duggan

A WOMAN who is accused of threatening and intimidating a grandmother and her daughter called them ‘scumbags’ and ‘rats’ before making a handgun gesture at them as she drove by their home, a court has heard.

Ciara Lynch (21) of Hyde Road, Ballinacurra-Weston, Limerick has pleaded not guilty to “threatening, menacing, intimidating or putting in fear” Alice Collins and her daughter, April Collins on May 15, 2011.

April Collins has told Limerick Circuit Criminal Court that she was outside her mother's home at 31 Hyde Avenue, Limerick when Ms Lynch drove by in her Volkswagen Golf and roared “ye dirty rats, ye scumbags” and made a handgun gesture out the car window at her.

Ms Collins - who is going out with convicted rapist Thomas O'Neill - said she was terrified and believed she was going to be shot.

Her mother, Alice, said she was putting out rubbish near her front gate when she heard someone shouting “you scumbags, you rats” and identified Ciara Lynch as the culprit.

John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, said Alice and April Collins had made a complaint to gardai on April 8, 2011 in relation to a separate offence involving two brothers, who were named as ‘Mr A’ and ‘Mr B’.

Ms Lynch was going out with a ‘Mr C’ who is a brother of ‘Mr A’ and ‘Mr B’ and Judge Carroll Moran heard this was Ms Lynch's motivation for the intimidation.

Mr O'Sullivan said at the time the defendant would have categorised the Collins’ “as rats”.

Ms Lynch, who grew up in Southill before moving to Hyde Road, said she had never heard the term ‘rat’ before and denied calling the grandmother or her daughter ‘rats’ or ‘scumbags’.

Mr O'Sullivan replied that “the term rat is used on the street as a derogatory term about someone who makes complaints to the guards or a person who cooperates with guards”.

On the date of the alleged offence, Ms Lynch said she was driving by the Collins home and that Sarah Collins - a cousin of April - had shouted at her and that she drove straight to Roxboro garda station to have the incident noted.

She also claimed that on April 9, 2011 while driving she was followed by Thomas O'Neill - April's partner - in traffic who pointed a gun at her.

“I was in fear of my life as he raped a young girl before and destroyed her life,” Ms Lynch said. Gardai investigated the incident, but no prosecution arose.

The jury heard that Ms Lynch was previously convicted of violent disorder in Limerick District Court when she and three other women attacked the jeep belonging to Alice Collins.

Ms Lynch also claimed that she was set up by April Collins “who was waiting for an opportunity to get me” after she attacked the jeep and made the complaint about Thomas O'Neill.

Ms Lynch said she suffers sleepless nights and is on medication for sleeping pills and ‘Prozac tablets’ for depression.

Evidence concluded yesterday and the jury is expected to begin its deliberations tomorrow.

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