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Woman struck in face with steel bar during fight with neighbour


Thomas Fox (41) and Catherine Keating  (49) at court

Thomas Fox (41) and Catherine Keating (49) at court

Thomas Fox (41) and Catherine Keating (49) at court

A DUBLIN man struck a woman in the face with a steel bar, fracturing her eye socket, during a frenzied melee that broke out over a dispute between neighbours.

Thomas Fox (41) hit the victim, Niamh Donnellan, with the bar while she was fighting with her neighbour outside her home in the north of the city.

The neighbour she was fighting with was Fox's stepdaughter, Carrie Keating.

Dublin District Court heard Ms Donnellan suffered serious facial injuries, including two fractures, and had to spend 10 days in hospital after the attack.

Judge Timothy Lucey gave Fox a three-month suspended sentence, saying the fracas was an "unseemly" incident.

Fox, a father-of-two of Bunratty Road, Coolock, was found guilty of assault causing harm to Ms Donnellan at Cromcastle Court, Kilmore, on April 23, 2014.


He was found not guilty of affray and a weapons charge.

Three other accused also had affray charges against them dismissed - Fox's wife, Catherine Keating (49), Carrie Keating and her partner Mark Bethel.

Carrie Keating, who has since moved with Mr Bethel, was also cleared of assault causing harm to Ms Donnellan.

The court heard Ms Donnellan had gone to Carrie Keating's flat in the Cromcastle Court complex to confront her over something she had heard.

She alleged Carrie Keating lunged at her and they then started fighting, pulling each other's hair. The court heard several people, including all the defendants, were present.

Fox produced a steel bar that looked like a golf putter or something for taking wheels off, Ms Donnellan said.

"He hit me in the face with the steel bar," she said.

She was taken to hospital with severe facial injuries and it was initially thought her eyeball was burst. She could not see out of her eye for several weeks.

Carrie Keating alleged that Ms Donnellan came to her door, screaming "who the f*** do you think you are", hit her on the head and dragged her out by the hair.

She maintained they grappled and as she tried to push Ms Donnellan away, her only option was to kick her.

"I may well have caused that injury," she said. "I didn't see where the kick landed."

Both Ms Donnellan and Carrie Keating alleged the other was acting like a "wild animal".

Mark Bethel alleged he was struck over the head with a blunt instrument by someone he did not see, leaving him dazed and bleeding.

Catherine Keating said her husband, Fox, did not hit Ms Donnellan.

Fox said the metal tool he brought was for fixing a puncture.