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Granny (39) who bit garda on hand avoids jail term

A DRUNKEN grandmother who bit a female garda and kicked out at her male colleague as they were arresting her for her own safety has been ordered to do community service or face three months in prison.

Margaret Connors (39) was distressed at the time of the incident as her best friend had committed suicide, a court heard.

The defendant had suffered from depression since her husband and child died within weeks of each other over a decade ago, and she said she should never have mixed alcohol with her medication.

The mother-of-three apologised for her behaviour, saying it was totally out of character.

Connors was before the court for sentencing after a judge ordered a community services report.

Judge Patrick McMahon ordered Connors to complete 60 hours' community service in lieu of three months in prison.

The defendant, of Bawnlea Avenue, in Tallaght, previously admitted before Blanchardstown District Court to assaulting a garda as well as public order offences.

The incident took place in the car park of Rathcoole Shopping Centre on November 23, 2008. Garda Stephen Kelly said he was called to the car park shortly before 1am following reports of a disturbance. Garda Kelly said Connors and some of her family were in the car park, and she was roaring and shouting. She was very drunk, and gardai decided to arrest her for her own safety.

Garda Kelly said that when he went to arrest Connors she struck out, hitting him in the face and kicking him on the leg. He said that when he and Garda Denise Cleary tried to handcuff Connors, she turned and bit Garda Cleary on the hand, breaking the skin.

The court heard that Connors did not usually drink but her best friend had committed suicide and she was very upset.