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Probationer garda attacked two female colleagues

A PROBATIONER garda will be sentenced in September after he admitted attacking two female colleagues who intervened when a drunken "mess" fight got out of hand.

Michael Crowley (27) pleaded guilty yesterday to assaulting former housemates, Anne Marie Hennessy and Gillian McNulty, during an off-duty incident, on February 15, 2011.

Garda Inspector Mel Smyth said Crowley had been returning to his rented home in Lucan in Dublin, with a friend after a night out, and both were intoxicated.

"Initially they seemed to be getting on well, they started mess fighting which turned a bit serious," Gda Inspector Smyth told Judge Bridget Reilly at Dublin District Court.

It started to get noisy and the women came out to see what was happening.

Crowley became aggressive as Gda Hennessy took up position between him and the other man, "to prevent a serious altercation taking place".

Crowley pushed her to the ground and Gda McNulty then stepped in.

"He grabbed her by the neck and throat area with one hand and by the hair with his right hand," Gda Inspector Smyth also told the court.

A witness went inside to dial 999 and the situation calmed down when gardai arrived.

Inspector Smyth agreed with defence solicitor Dara Robinson that Crowley had no prior criminal convictions and is a probationer garda.

He said Crowley, who is from Blarney, Co Cork but attached to a Crumlin garda station in Dublin, came from a respectable family and before joining the force had attained a certificate in mechanical engineering.

Gda Hennessy, who was knocked to the ground, sustained no injuries and Gda McNulty "suffered a loss of breath" after the attack.

Mr Robinson asked the judge to note a reference provided by one of Crowley's superiors which said he was a competent officer.

There had never been previous incidents when he shared a house with the two women and he could give no explanation as to why he turned on them.

The day after the incident, he moved out, Mr Robinson said.

The court heard a witness who had socialised with him had never seen him act like that. Mr Robinson said the case could have consequences for his future in An Garda Siochana.

Judge Reilly heard the two victims were present for the hearing but they did not want to address the court about the incident after being notified that Crowley was pleading guilty.

She deferred sentencing for an assessment to be carried out on whether he has any alcohol or anger-management issues. The case was adjourned until a date in September.

Irish Independent