Nicole and Tia Keenan (22) were also charged with engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour
Twin sisters have been sentenced after the pair abandoned a young child in a buggy to attack another woman, leaving her with “multiple scars”, a court has heard.
Nicole and Tia Keenan (22), both of Ardnacassa Avenue, Co Longford, appeared at a recent special sitting of Longford District Court charged with assaulting Rosaleen Ward on February 21, 2022 at Main Street, Longford.
The pair were also charged with engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour on the same date.
Giving evidence, Garda Noelle Fahy said she and a male colleague had come across the incident after noticing a man and a woman standing at the passenger door of a car.
Upon closer inspection, Garda Fahy told of seeing two women on top of a third woman inside the car.
CCTV footage of the incident was played before Judge Vincent Deane which showed Garda Fahy forcibly dragging Nicole Keenan from the car before arresting her moments later.
Tia Keenan was alleged to have been in the rear of the vehicle and was arrested later that day.
Details of a victim impact statement from Ms Ward were also read out into open court.
In it, Ms Ward said since the attack, which took place in broad daylight and in full view of shocked bystanders, she no longer felt at ease when out in public.
“I feel extra vulnerable now that I am pregnant and I am very afraid that both these girls are going to beat me again,” she said.
“Since the attack, I have been left with multiple scars on my arms and hip and I feel very self conscious about showing my arms and hip and my hair has been falling out over the stress.”
In defence, Frank Gearty said while there was a certain sense of mitigation and goading which his clients felt they had been subjected to, the episode was one which should never have transpired.
“Unforgivably, when they saw the car across the way, they perceived the other parties initiated matters by pulling faces and taking pictures of them and they committed these acts of violence,” he said.
In an appraisal of the situation, Mr Gearty said his clients were open to the possibility of starting mediation in a bid to dampen brewing hostility between both families.
Judge Deane described the attack on Ms Ward as “serious” and one that would ordinarily attract a seven month jail term before mitigation was factored in.
He said what especially troubled him was how Nicole Keenan could desert her young child on a busy street to carry out the assault on Ms Ward.
“It is an aggravating factor that it happened on the main street and that she left her child without any care to go and carry out this vicious assault,” he said.
Judge Deane had strong words for her sister too, saying she was also an aunt who likewise saw fit to joining her twin in accosting Ms Ward.
“You have to wonder what the people of Longford who were going about their daily business were thinking,” he said.
“They don’t know any context or background, they just see people being attacked.”
Tia Keenan, who had no previous convictions was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years.
Judge Deane said the lack of mitigation for Nicole was something he could not overlook and sentenced her to seven months in prison.
The final two months of that prison term were suspended for a period of two years.
Nicole Keenan immediately lodged an appeal after recognisances were fixed at €600 own bond and a €200 cash bond, monies which have since been lodged with the court.
Judge Deane also imposed a condition on the pair to have no contact, direct or indirect with Ms Ward.
Both section 6 public order charges for both women were taken into consideration.