Monday 18 December 2017

Mother, brother and two sons face jail over assault

Tom Tuite

A MOTHER, her brother and her teenage sons have been told they could be facing jail after they were convicted in connection with a vicious attack on a vulnerable woman recovering from a nervous breakdown.

Dublin Children's Court heard that the 33-year-old victim, had just been discharged from hospital when she was attacked by four people. By the time she reached her house she was dazed, covered in blood and “drifting in and out of consciousness”.

 

A mother, aged in her late thirties, her brother, 19, and two of her sons who are in their mid-teens, had denied attacking the woman and causing a violent disorder in connection with the incident in February last year, in north Dublin.

 

The trial was conducted at the juvenile court because two of them are minors and cannot be named.

 

In evidence, the 33-year-old woman, a former drug addict, told Judge John O'Connor that she had been just got out of hospital and had been recovering from a breakdown. She had bought sweets for her children and was walking home when the 19-year-old, later described by the judge as the “ring-leader”, blamed her breaking for a window at his sister's house the day before.

 

“He grabbed me by the throat and gave me a punch in the face, it caught my left temple,” she said, and she pleaded with him that she did not know anything about the vandalism and had proof that she been in hospital for several days.

 

The man's two nephews joined in the attack while she was still held by her neck, she alleged.

 

One boy, “threw in a boot, the other kicked me” before she fell onto the ground in the middle of a road. The boys were screaming for their mother to come out, she said adding that the attack went on for more than 20 minutes.

 

“I tried to tell them I had a letter in my bag to say I was only out of hospital,” she told the judge. But one of the attackers said “I know it was fucking you”.

 

She said the mother arrived with a heavy shopping bag and started “whacking” her with it as she lay on the ground while being kicked and hit by the other three attackers.

 

The upset woman said she was “drifting in and out of consciousness” while she was attacked and is still getting treatment for the injuries she sustained. She said that she never had a problem with the family before and during the attack one of them told her “never walk down this street again.”

 

“My face was in bits, was swollen, I could not open my eye, my nose was bust, my lip was bust,” she said, when she got home “my kids had to see me like that”. She “collapsed” into a chair and the gardaí and an ambulance were called.

 

All four family members denied having any interaction with the woman but said they did not know how she could have known about the vandalism so soon after being released from hospital.

 

They claimed they already knew who had smashed the window and had never suspected her.

 

One teen said he was at home in bed recovering from an injury, and the other two claimed they had been with their girlfriends at the time.

 

Judge O'Connor found them guilty of violent disorder; the mother was cleared of assault as there was no evidence she had caused any injury. However, the youths were also convicted of assault causing harm and the judge said all four were evasive when they gave evidence , and he believed they had not told the truth.

 

He described the victim as vulnerable and he noted that she has since moved out the area where the attack occurred.

 

None of the four family members had any prior criminal convictions and were remanded them on bail pending sentencing next month.

 

A probation report on them was sought and the judge warned that although this was their first offence they could all face custodial sentences.

Online Editors

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