Sunday 17 December 2017

Woman acquitted of assaulting neighbour


A MOTHER OF FOUR has been acquitted of carrying out an assault on a neighbour having pleaded not guilty before Judge Thomas Teehan at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court.

Karen O'connor, of 48 Ballycanew Court, Gorey, Co. Wexford, was charged with assaulting John Igoe, causing him harm, at Ballycanew Court, Gorey, on July 25, 2009.

John Igoe, in evidence, told the court that he was on the Local Residents Committee which operated a collection fee of €60 for general maintenance of the estate. It was, he said, decided by the committee that they would plant trees in the green area of the estate.

The witness told of Karen O'connor having three to four children who used to play ball in front of his house, while they used to also sit on the fence. The fence was subsequently broken as the result of children sitting on it.

On the day in question he had people painting the house during which time he went upstairs for a rest. The next thing he heard a commotion at the door where his partner, Siobhan, was speaking with Karen O'connor.

'I heard a lot of shouting. I came down.' He said that she made reference to the fence, she was very abusive.

Later that evening, he said, some neighbours were in the house, while Mark Huggins, who was one of the painters, called back about 9.30p.m. The other people later left at about 11p.m. but Mark remained on with himself and Siobhan.

Mr. Igoe said that at about 11.30p.m. Mark O'connor, his mother, Karen O'connor, and a third person were at the door when he opened it. Mark O'connor and the other man had iron bars in their hands, at which stage they rushed through the door.

'I was hit on the head by Mark O'connor. I received a lot of blows to both head and body. Karen O'connor instructed Mark to kill me saying "kill the little c***". I was struck on the forehead. As a result I was bleeding profusely,' he said.

Mr. Igoe said he was brought to Wexford General Hospital by ambulance where he underwent X-rays and was stitched up.

Replying to Defence Counsel, Conor O'DOherty, the witness agreed there was an incident of putting syrup on the fence so if the children sat on it, it would stick to their clothes. The witness admitted putting the syrup on the fence.

Mr. Igoe told Mr. O'doherty that he could not genuinely say that Karen O'connor administered blows or kicks to his body. He said he could not swear that she did. He also said that he's as fair as can be to Karen O'connor. Mark Huggins in evidence said he was in the sitting room with John and Siobhan, the other people having gone home, but the next thing he remembered was waking up in hospital.

He told Mr. O'doherty that he had also been assaulted but could not recall what else happened in the house.

Ms Siobhan Morris said she did not live any more in the house. At the time of the assault she lived there with her then fiancee, John Igoe. She told the court that in July there had been a disagreement with Karen O'connor about the green area.

She told Defence Counsel, Conor O'doherty, that she did not believe that Karen O'connor came into the house to get her son out.

Det. Garda Ian Hayes told the court of having seen blood spatters on the floor of the house. Two men, John Igoe and Mark Huggins, were in the house. When he went to Karen O'connor's house he saw blood spatters on the ground outside her house, while he observed the hall floor as been wet and recently washed.

He agreed with Mr. O'doherty that Mark O'connor had pleaded guilty in relation to the assault.

Ms O'connor, in evidence, stated, 'I was wearing a pink pyjamas at the time. I went over to get Mark out. Siobhan was in the sitting room and both of us were shouting at one another. I tried to get Mark out, I tried to drag him. I kept shouting at Mark you are going to kill him. Mark was falling all over the place for I never saw him so drunk in my life. I got him out and went back to my own house,' she said.

The defendant said she made a statement to the gardai but she thought it was in relation to Mark. She also said that she had since moved away from the estate.

She admitted to Prosecuting Counsel, Philip Sheehan, that she lied to Gardai when interviewed, saying she did not want to get her son in trouble. The Jury of seven men and five women returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty.

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