Women jailed for 'frightful, racist assault' on victim
TWO women who committed a vicious race-hate attack which left a French woman unable to have children were yesterday jailed for three years.
June Moore (21) and Linda O'Driscoll (21), both from Kilalla Gardens, Knocknaheeny, Cork, were sentenced before Cork Circuit Criminal Court after admitting the assault on Lila Dorgan last December.
Judge Patrick Moran imposed the sentence and warned that "citizens and visitors are entitled to feel safe when they walk our streets."
He described the attack - which also prompted an incitement-to-hatred charge against both defendants - as "a frightful assault" which had "absolutely catastrophic consequences" for Mrs Dorgan (33).
Both defendants had pleaded guilty to assault causing harm against Lila Dorgan, who is of Moroccan ancestry, as well as to breaching the peace on September 24, 2000, at Cork's North Mall.
Mrs Dorgan and her Irish husband were returning to their flat after an evening out when they found a young woman, June Moore, urinating in the entrance to their building.
Kevin Dorgan was shocked and backed away while his wife asked the woman to move.
Then Linda O'Driscoll approached and both she and June Moore assaulted Mrs Dorgan. Kevin Dorgan tried to go to her aid but was confronted by a man who forcibly prevented him.
Over the course of the assault, the victim had large lumps of her hair pulled out, while her head was repeatedly bashed off the pavement. Then both women kicked her repeatedly in the stomach before they were arrested and taken to the Bridewell Garda Station.
Even after the gardai arrived, the two defendants tried to renew their assault on Mrs Dorgan, and gardai confirmed that racist and xenophobic comments were screamed at her.
At Bridewell garda station, Linda O'Driscoll's only comment was: "I had a right to kill her when I had the chance."
Yesterday, both defendants sobbed as Judge Moran rejected defence counsel pleas for suspended sentences to allow them to address their alcohol-abuse problems. The judge said that, in light of recent assaults on Cork's streets, they should count themselves lucky they weren't before the court on more serious charges.
O'Driscoll is a mother-of-two and had told the court that her children, who suffer from medical conditions, would be taken into care if she was jailed. The court was also told she feels "deeply ashamed" at the racial nature of the attack because she is from a family of settled travellers aware of the problems suffered by minority groups.
June Moore was seeking to attend an eight-week alcohol treatment programme in Bruree, Co Limerick, under the auspices of the Probation and Welfare Service. Her family said she was "a changed person" following the attack and was "a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde-character" only after drink.
Both women paid ?2,000 each into court as compensation to Mrs Dorgan.
However, the victim - who now lives in France with her husband - described the attack as pure racism. "The Irish community and people must be concerned about this racist crime that I endured," she said.
Her health almost collapsed in the wake of the attack and she now suffers from epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, acute depression and anxiety attacks.
In the year following the assault, she endured 50 epileptic fits.
"My life is wrecked," she said. "I had to escape from this country. I respected your culture. I was tolerant. I will always be tolerant. But I cannot live here now. I am a victim of ignorance."