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Man who kicked, threw pregnant mum to ground

A SOUTH DUBLIN woman who sat on a pregnant woman's stomach while punching her in the face has escaped without a jail sentence.

Sarah Quill (22) claimed she attacked Paula Murray after Ms Murray and her boyfriend -- Ms Quill's ex -- "jeered" at her.

But a court convicted her and her current boyfriend, Stephen Costello (23), of assault.

They were dealt with under the Probation Act after they agreed to compensate the victim, Ms Murray, who was left with bruises to the body in the roadside assault.

Costello threw the pregnant woman to the ground and kicked her in the side during the attack, a court heard. He had claimed he stood back to watch the catfight -- but the court rejected this.

The pair claimed that they've been subjected to "jeering" by Ms Murray, and her boyfriend, Gavin Tansey, who is an ex-boyfriend of Quill's, on a number of occasions outside Dun Laoghaire courthouse.

Their solicitor, Ronnie Lynam, claimed this behaviour was intended to provoke his clients, but they had ignored it.

The matter was before the court for sentencing after a judge found the defendants guilty of assault and ordered a probation report.

Judge Clare Leonard ordered Quill to pay €250 compensation to the victim. Costello handed over €350 compensation earlier this year.

The defendants had denied assaulting Ms Murray at Wyattville Park, Loughlinstown on May 4, 2007.

Ms Murray had told Dun Laoghaire District Court that Costello threw her to the ground and kicked her three or four times on the side and legs. He then grabbed her neck and pinned her to the ground.

She said Quill sat on top of her, on her stomach, and hit her with her fists in the face

Quill, of Pinewood, Ballybrack, had claimed the victim, an old school acquaintance, hit her first and pulled her hair through an open car window, and she got out of the car to defend herself.

Costello had denied he was involved in the assault, claiming he stood at the side of the road and watched the catfight, as the two women hit and punched each other and rolled about on the ground.

He said he had asked Ms Murray in a "nice, friendly way" why she was threatening to kill his girlfriend. She denied she ever made any threats.

Costello, of Wyattville Park, Loughlinstown, claimed Ms Murray reacted badly to this question, and came over to the car and repeatedly hit Quill and pulled her hair through the open car window.

Mr Lynam said his clients accepted the ruling of the court and were ashamed and embarrassed about their behaviour.

Judge Leonard applied the Probation Act.