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Women admit bus attack on French group

THREE women have avoided jail terms for their role in a violent and abusive altercation with a group of French students on a Dublin bus last year.

Deborah Noone (26), her younger sister Nicola (19) and Carol Phelan (20) were on a 39 bus in the Hartstown area when they started "exchanging verbals" with the group.

Garda Colin Davidson told the court that Deborah "kicked wildly" at one of the men. She later swung her handbag at the group a number of times causing a can of beer to fly out which hit one of the group in the face.

Gardai met the bus at Manor Street and witnessed Deborah swinging from a handrail and kicking a man in the face.

Gda Davidson said she still had her leg raised when he tried to arrest her and he sprayed her with a pepper spray to subdue her because he said he had "perceived a threat".

He said that Nicola was also involved in a verbal altercation with the group of students and spent much of the time "squaring up with them". She was moving her head forward as if to headbutt them, but she didn't actually connect with anyone.

He said one of the men punched Nicola in the face, breaking her front tooth but added that the student had done it in self-defence.

The court heard that Phelan played the most minor role.

She was involved in the initial verbal attacks and attempted to hit the only female student in the group but didn't connect with her. She was also involved in a "tussle" when she tried to prevent the students from moving downstairs and later threw a phone in their direction.

All of the women pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to affray on February 19, 2010. Deborah, of Woodvale Avenue, Clonsilla and Nicola, of Whitestown Avenue, Blanchardstown each received a 15 month suspended sentence on the condition that they keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

Phelan, of Whitestown Gardens, also in Blanchardstown, was given a nine month suspended sentence on the condition that she also keeps the peace and be of good behaviour for those nine months.