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Model who went berserk, chasing after woman and beat her on street

A MODEL followed another woman home from a nightclub and viciously beat her up following a dancefloor row, a court heard.

Alison O'Sullivan (21) kicked the victim in the face after dragging her to the ground by the hair in a dispute that started when she bumped into the woman's pregnant friend in the club.

O'Sullivan had followed Laura Sweeney in a car back to her boyfriend's house before confronting her over what had happened earlier at Barcode nightclub in Clontarf.

Struck

Judge Catherine Murphy found O'Sullivan guilty of assault but said she would strike out the charge if she paid €250 compensation to Ms Sweeney and another €100 to charity.

The judge remarked that a conviction would have serious consequences for O'Sullivan's modelling career, for which she had to travel extensively.

O'Sullivan, of Moatview Gardens, Priorswood, had denied assaulting Ms Sweeney at Gracefield Road, Artane, on January 18, 2009.

She maintained she had arrived at the same location as Ms Sweeney by coincidence and that she struck the other woman in self-defence.

Ms Sweeney told Dublin District Court she had gone to the club with her boyfriend, James Sheerin, and friends.

She was on the dancefloor with a three-months pregnant friend when O'Sullivan bumped into her friend and a "shouting match" started.

After speaking to bouncers, they left and another confrontation happened outside in which they each shouted that the other was to blame. Ms Sweeney left with Mr Sheerin in a taxi to go back to his house in Artane and when they arrived, O'Sullivan pulled up in a Fiat Punto, driven by another woman.

O'Sullivan came over to Ms Sweeney, screaming at her, accusing her of starting the trouble in the club.

She was shocked that she had been followed and wanted to get into Mr Sheerin's house but O'Sullivan blocked her way so she tried to push past.

"Alison grabbed me by the hair and pulled me down, I could feel her hitting me in the back of the head with either her fist or her handbag," Ms Sweeney said, adding that Mr Sheerin was trying to pull O'Sullivan away.

She covered her face until she thought the accused had let go.

"I got a kick into my face into my left eye," she said. The driver shouted out "that's enough" and O'Sullivan and her friends left. She was left badly bruised and had her eye checked and head X-rayed at Beaumont Hospital the next day.

In evidence, O'Sullivan maintained Ms Sweeney's friend had elbowed her on the dancefloor and said: "I'm pregnant, I'm pregnant, you're dancing all over my lip," before punching her in the face.

She said Ms Sweeney shouted at her for bumping into her friend. After the row, she got a lift with a friend who had to pick up a cousin near Harmonstown Church.

When they arrived, she alleged, Ms Sweeney approached her and began screaming at her, before "shouldering" her.

Contact

She said they got into a fight, admitted striking Ms Sweeney with her hand and apologised for it but denied kicking her.

John Berry, defending, said Ms Sweeney had initiated what happened by escalating the confrontation, making physical contact. Judge Murphy described the incident as "extremely regrettable".

"We are all a little more shocked when that kind of incident takes place among females, fighting on the ground in a residential area. It doesn't raise anybody's spirits."

She said she hoped O'Sullivan had a very successful career as a model -- her progress would be impeded if she had a conviction recorded against her.

aphelan@herald.ie


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