Sunday 26 May 2019

Man jailed for hitting brother and sister-in-law with fire extinguisher during row over helium balloon at family party

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Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Dublin man hit a fire extinguisher into his brother and sister-in-law's heads after a row about giving their son helium from a balloon, a court has heard.

CCTV footage of the incident captured David Fludgate (39) grabbing a fire extinguisher after he had been pushed by his brother, Noel Fludgate, during their father's 70th birthday party.

Garda Ciaran Wynne agreed with Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, that his client swung at his brother twice and at his sister-in-law, Tracy Fludgate, once, knocking them both to the ground. Gda Wynne further agreed that the whole altercation happened in about 25 or 30 seconds.

David Fludgate, who is living in hostel accommodation at The Salvation Army, York House, Longford Street Little, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Mr and Mrs Fludgate causing them harm at the Palmerstown House pub, Old Lucan Road, Dublin 20, on December 13, 2015.

Fludgate, who received a 21 month sentence for the assaults, has 30 previous convictions for robbery, drugs possession, criminal damage, assault and other offences.

Gda Wynne told Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, that Tracy Fludgate had asked her brother-in-law to stop giving her son helium from a balloon during the party.

She encountered David Fludgate in the pub's function area a little later and he started spitting in her face and verbally abusing her.

When her husband joined in the confrontation, she saw David Fludgate take something red and hit her with it. She next recalled seeing her husband lying on the ground unconscious and bleeding from his head.

Gda Wynne said Noel Fludgate received seven staples to his head wound and Tracy Fludgate was given painkiller and anti-inflammatory medication for her injuries.

The garda said David Fludgate admitted during interview that he didn't get on with his sister-in-law and that she had been telling him to stay away from her son on the night. He accepted he was drunk, that the argument had been solely about helium and that he had lost control.

Gda Wynne said Fludgate added that he didn't realise the extent of the couple's injuries and that he hadn't set out to inflict harm.Mr Le Vert submitted to Judge Martin Nolan that nobody else in his client's family has ever been in trouble with the law.

He said David Fludgate's problems began in his teens when he developed a drug addiction. Counsel submitted that his client now had health difficulties because of that addiction, but that he was making efforts to rehabilitate himself.

Judge Nolan said the headline sentence in this matter would have been a four year jail term because the assaults were quite serious.

He reduced this to 21 months in prison due to the way Fludgate dealt with the case with his guilty plea and the steps taken to reform himself.

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