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Tuesday 20 March 2018

Man charged with assaulting Colum McCann after Irish author tried to help woman in dispute

Charged: Michael Mott, pictured, allegedly assaulted award-winning novelist Colum McCann outside a hotel in June after McCann tried to help Mott's wife
Charged: Michael Mott, pictured, allegedly assaulted award-winning novelist Colum McCann outside a hotel in June after McCann tried to help Mott's wife

Greg Harkin

A 34-year-old man has appeared in an American court charged with assaulting Irish writer Colum McCann.

Michael Mott, from Chestnut Hill Road in Oxford, Connecticut, was charged with assault in the second degree when he appeared at New Haven Superior Court yesterday.

The charge carries a maximum sentence on conviction of ten years.

Mr McCann was knocked unconscious during a vicious assault outside a hotel in New Haven on June 28.

The city’s police department said in a statement that Mott had handed himself into detectives on Monday and confessed to the assault.

Mott was also faced a domestic violence charge of breach of the peace in the second degree.

He was released on a ‘Promise To Appear’ bond after agreeing not to contact his wife, Mr McCann or witnesses in the case.

A protection order was also issued for Mott’s wife.

It was the 34-year-old’s row with her inside the lobby of the Study Hotel in New Haven which sparked the assault, Officer David Hartman told The Herald last night.

Mr McCann, who lives in New York, was in New Haven attending a book launch when he intervened as Mott was verbally abusing his wife.

“Officer were called to the Study Hotel after a man was assaulted and injured by a man who punched him. Witness accounts suggest the victim had tried to assist a woman involved in a dispute in the hotel lobby,” said Officer Hartman.

“The woman’s companion later confessed he was the assailant detectives were looking for.

“The victim, a 49 year old man from New York, was taken to Yale – New Haven Hospital where he was treated for significant facial injuries.

“Mott confessed to assaulting McCann but declined to elaborate.”

Officer Hartman said detectives have learned Mott and his wife had checked into the Study Hotel earlier that day. The couple left for drinks and returned a few hours later.

“Hotel staff informed them the credit card Mott used hadn’t sufficient funds to pay for the room. It was reported this issue sparked a dispute between Mott and his wife,” he said.

“Mr McCann witnessed the dispute and asked Mott’s wife if she was all right or needed assistance. She indicated she’d be OK.

“It was when Mr. McCann went outside that he was attacked. Mott’s punch caused McCann to lose consciousness.

“A warrant based on probable cause was issued for Mott. On Monday evening, 7 July, 2014, Michael Mott turned himself in to Detectives at Police headquarters.

“He has been charged with family violence breach of peace in the second degree for the altercation in the hotel lobby and assault in the second degree for his attack on Mr. McCann.”

Chief of Police Dean M. Esserman said: “This was a particularly disturbing case because the Mr. McCann was specifically targeted after he tried helping another victim. We appreciate the valuable assistance of our Officers, Detectives, the Yale University Police Department and the public.”

Mott will appear again at the New Haven Superior Court on July 22.

Mr McCann was treated for what police called “significant facial injuries”.

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