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Garda grabbed woman officer by the throat in row with female housemates

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

Michael Crowley (27) who was attached to Crumlin Garda Station in Dublin, admitted assaulting former house-mates, Gardai Anne Marie Hennessy and Gillian McNulty, on February 15, 2011.

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

"Initially they seemed to be getting on well, they started mess fighting which turned a bit serious," 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 Garda Hennessy took up position between him and the other man, "to prevent a serious altercation taking place".

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

"He grabbed her by the neck and throat area with one hand and by the hair with his right hand," Inspector Smyth 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 was a probationer garda. He also agreed that Crowley came from a respectable family and before joining the force had attained a certificate in mechanical engineering.

Garda Hennessy, who was knocked to the ground, sustained no injuries and Garda 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 any 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 following day, he packed his bags and moved out, Mr Robinson said.

The court heard that a witness who had socialised with him previously had never seen him act like that.

Mr Robinson also said the case could have consequences for his future in An Garda Siochana.

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

She deferred sentencing of Crowleywho is from Blarney, Co Cork 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.