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Dad hit ex in face and kicked her mother after row

A FATHER-of-one "clattered" his ex-partner in the face and kicked her mother in the back when a bitter inter-family dispute came to blows in a violent clash outside the victims' home.

Shane O'Leary assaulted the two women when he joined in a struggle that broke out over "bad blood" between his family and his ex-partner's.

O'Leary was fined €300 and bound to the peace for two years after a judge found him guilty of both charges. Judge David McHugh said he found the victims' account of what happened "clear, comprehensive and compelling" and that he did not want to add "fuel to the flames" of the dispute by commenting further.

O'Leary (32), a mechanic of Coburg Place, Dublin 1, had denied assaulting Carmel Costello and her mother Kathleen Costello in the incident at nearby Ferryman's Crossing on October 28, 2008.

O'Leary and several members of his family gave a conflicting version of events of the night, but Judge McHugh said he accepted the victims' evidence.

Carmel Costello told Dublin District Court she went to the home of the accused's sister, Melissa O'Leary, because she was upset about a serious family problem. Afterwards, she returned to her mother Kathleen's home. The two women were outside after 2am having a cigarette when the accused, his then-16-year-old sister Jeanine and another O'Leary family member came into the garden.

Jeanine O'Leary began punching her and kicking her before the accused arrived and assaulted her mother. The two victims then went back into the house and were trying to get the door closed when the O'Learys forced it in and came inside.

"[The accused] assaulted me with a clatter to the face with his hand," she said.

Cross-examined by defence barrister Barry Ward, Ms Costello accepted she was drunk on the night but believed she had had good reason to go to the O'Learys' house at the time.

Kathleen Costello (60), the grandmother of the accused's child, told the court O'Leary had kicked her "full force to the back" in the garden, and was about to hit her again when his sister Jeanine had said, "don't hit her".



rat

She said the accused called her "a rat and a mouth". After the O'Learys forced the front door of the house, Ms Costello said she fell and was struck again in the shoulder by the accused.

They finally left when Melissa O'Leary's partner, John Richardson, arrived.

Shane O'Leary denied assaulting either woman, claiming they were both on "on top of" his sister Jeanine and all he did was break it up by pulling them away.

Judge McHugh fixed recognisances in the event of an appeal.

aphelan@herald.ie


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