Three sisters, who battered a “slight” girl in an unprovoked but feud-related assault in a nightclub which saw in the victim requiring €800 worth of hair replacement treatments, were all jailed for between two and nine months.
“You can tell them, Mr McLynn, if they continue with this feud, I’m going to be here for the next 11 years, and they’ll be seeing each other on the corridors of Dóchas [the women’s prison] for the next 11 years,” warned Judge Seamus Hughes in the District Court this week (June 22 ) as he sent down Priscilla (23 ), Kelly (27 ), and Yvonne (29 ) West.
The court heard how the three - with respective addresses at Ashdale, Athlone; Portmore, Tuam, Co Galway; and Battery Heights, Athlone - were in 41s at around 11pm on November 27 when they saw a Mary Sherlock and attacked her because of a perceived disagreement between her boyfriend and their brother.
“Kelly West caught her by the hair and threw her to the ground, while Yvonne kicked and punched Ms Sherlock,” said Inspector Nicholas Farrell for the State.
“Priscilla couldn’t get to the action as she was restrained, but she threw bottles at her.”
The inspector told Judge Hughes that Ms Sherlock was assaulted for at least a minute, and was left with several bald patches, and bruising on her cheekbones and down her right side.
Noting the victim was not in court, Judge Hughes asked Inspector Farrell: “If I finalise today, would she be miffed for not being in court to see the administration of justice?”
He told the inspector to notify Ms Sherlock, and told defending solicitor Mr Tony McLynn his clients “have til after lunch to come up with more” than the €200 compensation they brought to court.
“It’s insulting they come to court with €67 or €68 each after all this time. That’s less than €10 each a month. Come back with €3,000 or go to jail,” said Judge Hughes.
When they returned without such a sum, Judge Hughes asked Mr McLynn what he might say “to reduce the prison sentence”.
Mr McLynn said his clients regretted their part in the assault, but when he claimed that “Kelly said it was the first time they’d been drinking in six months”, the judge intervened.
“These three bruisers charging in on top of this slight girl, kicking and punching her?...It wasn’t a one-on-one, and even if it was, it wouldn’t have been a fair fight,” said Judge Hughes.
In direct evidence, Ms Sherlock told the judge she was so frightened of the three defendants, she wouldn’t walk alone in Athlone, and on the night of the assault, had actually asked the door staff whether the West girls were inside. She also told how she had to pay €900 for repair treatments for her hair.
The judge sentenced Priscilla to two months, with the final month suspended for two years; Kelly to nine months, with the final three suspended for two years; while Yvonne was given nine months, with none suspended.