Wednesday 21 March 2018

Expectant mother who pulled clumps of hair from woman spared jail

Conor Gallagher

AN expectant mother has been spared jail for an unprovoked attack on a young couple in Dublin city centre.

Kayleigh McDonnell (21) and her friend Michelle Walsh (26) pulled clumps of hair from the woman’s head and punched and kicked her boyfriend as he tried to intervene. At one point Walsh held up and handful of hair and said to the male: “I’ve got your girlfriend’s hair.”


McDonnell, who is to give birth in August, was given an 18 month fully suspended sentence by Judge Martin Nolan. Walsh, who was judged to be the more serious attacker, was given a 18 month term with one year suspended for the “frenzied, unprovoked attack”. She wept as she was led away to begin her sentence.


McDonnell of Clogher Road, Crumlin and Walsh of Chelmsford Road, Ranelagh both pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Kevin Kerrigan and Olivia Waters on Pearse Street on May 4, 2012. A third accused, who played a more minor role, has already been dealt with.


Garda Daragh Kenny told Cormac Quinn BL, prosecuting, that Ms Waters had just finished a master’s programme in Trinity college and was walking home from the cinema with her boyfriend just after midnight.


As they walked past the three women on Pearse Street, one of the accused pushed into Ms Waters. They then began punching and shoving her.


Walsh and McDonnell pulled out large clumps of her hair before attacking Mr Kerrigan when he tried to help. He was punched, kicked and hit with a handbag.


Eventually the couple were able to take refuge in a hotel and the attackers left when they were unable to gain entry.


The incident was caught on CCTV and McDonnell and Walsh were arrested shortly afterwards. Both lied in interview and said they were the ones who had been attacked.


The court heard Walsh has ten previous convictions including drug dealing and possession of knives while McDonnell has never come to garda attention.


Breffni Gordon BL, defending Walsh, said her boyfriend died “in tragic circumstances” in 2011 which caused her to begin drinking and taking drugs. She was homeless for a period but is now doing well, counsel said.


Counsel for McDonnell, Fionnuala O’Sullivan BL, said her client comes from a troubled family. She had a miscarriage two years ago and began drinking heavily but has now quit alcohol.

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