Brothers accused of 'happy slap' train attack

By Glyn Bellis

Two Irish brothers have been allowed by magistrates to continue on their way to a cousin's wedding after being accused of a drunken "happy slapping" attack on a petrified rail passenger in Wales.

Michael O'Donnell (31) of Meakstown Close, Dublin, received a six-week suspended jail term and was ordered to pay £200 compensation to an Australian man after he admitted common assault by hitting him on an early morning train between Holyhead and Rhyl.

He also had to pay £100 compensation and £165 costs after pleading guilty to assaulting a custody officer, following his arrest, when he was alleged to have spat in his face and by throwing a cup of water at him.

Brian O'Donnell (24) who gave an address at Philomena Park, Blanchardstown, Ballycoolin, was sentenced to one day in custody, deemed served, after he admitted disorderly behaviour. He was accused of filming and encouraging the attack on the train.


The unemployed pair, who'd travelled by ferry from Dublin, appeared before magistrates at Llandudno.

Prosecutor James Neary said the rail assault on Monday was "premeditated" and on a vulnerable victim.

"Happy slapping was a craze some years ago. Ordinarily schoolchildren would film on their mobile phones the hitting of someone," Mr Neary said.

The victim said up to 30 passengers were aboard the carriage when the two defendants sat down opposite him.

The victim said that one defendant said "Stop laughing" and the other later said "Did he call me a knacker?".

One of the brothers then said "I'm going to punch him", which was followed by another comment of "We'll happy slap him", according to the victim who said he felt pain to his right ear.

Earlier, Michael O'Donnell had jumped down on the railway at Holyhead station and lay on the track as his brother filmed him. When in custody he soiled a cell.