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Mum-to-be spared jail after 'frenzied' attack on couple

AN expectant mother has been spared jail for an unprovoked attack on a young couple in Dublin city centre.

Kayleigh McDonnell (21) and her friend Michelle Walsh (26) pulled clumps of hair from the woman's head and punched and kicked her boyfriend as he tried to intervene.

At one point, Walsh held up and handful of hair and said to the man: "I've got your girlfriend's hair."

McDonnell, who is to give birth in August, was given an 18-month suspended sentence by Judge Martin Nolan.

CINEMA

Walsh, who was judged to be the more serious attacker, was jailed for 18 months with one year suspended for the "frenzied, unprovoked attack".

McDonnell, of Clogher Road, Crumlin, and Walsh, of Chelmsford Road, Ranelagh, both pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Kevin Kerrigan and Olivia Waters on Pearse Street on May 4, 2012.

A third accused, who played a more minor role, has already been dealt with.

Garda Daragh Kenny told Cormac Quinn, prosecuting, that Ms Waters was walking home from the cinema with her boyfriend just after midnight.

As they walked past the three women on Pearse Street, one of the accused pushed into Ms Waters. They then began punching and shoving her.

Walsh and McDonnell pulled out large clumps of her hair before attacking Mr Kerrigan when he tried to help. He was punched, kicked and hit with a handbag.

Eventually the couple were able to take refuge in a hotel and the attackers left when they were unable to gain entry.

The incident was caught on CCTV and McDonnell and Walsh were arrested shortly afterwards.

KNIVES

Both lied in interview and said they were the ones who had been attacked.

The court heard Walsh has 10 previous convictions, including drug dealing and possession of knives, while McDonnell has never come to garda attention.

Breffni Gordon, defending Walsh, said her boyfriend died in tragic circumstances in 2011, which led her to begin drinking and taking drugs.

Counsel for McDonnell, Fionnuala O'Sullivan, said her client had a miscarriage two years ago and began drinking heavily, but has now given up alcohol.

hnews@herald.ie


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