Two women who launched a vicious attack on a family home, hurling abuse and threats, kicking down the front door, and dragging the terrified female occupant out of her house by the hair before punching and kicking her while her children cowered in an upstairs bedroom both received seven month jail sentences this week.
Thirty-year-old Caroline O’Brien of 77 An Sean Bhaile, Doughiska, charged with the assault of Caroline O’Connor, criminal damage of a front door, threatening and abusive behaviour, tresspass in such a manner as to cause fear in another person, and possession of a knife at Durabhan, Roscam, on August 1 2010, appeared before Judge Mary Fahy at Galway District Court on Monday last while her co-accused, Margaret McDonagh (42 ) of 31 Durabhan, Roscam - charged with assault of the same woman, tresspassing in such a manner as to cause fear in another person, threatening and abusive behaviour, and criminal damage - failed to appear but was sentenced in her absence.
Ms O’Connor told the court that at around 9.20pm there was a loud banging on the front door. When she looked out the front upstairs window she saw O’Brien roaring “get your arse down here”. “She was very angry, shouting lots of abuse at me, wanting me to come down to talk, and then she said she would kill me,” said Ms O’Connor who added that it was at this point that McDonagh joined in.
The court heard that O’Brien repeatedly kicked at the door while accusing the injured party of “mocking her” and issuing a number of threats. Ms O’Connor said that both women continued to shout abuse while her frightened children huddled together in one room. The defendants kicked down the front door and O’Brien grabbed the injured party by the hair, pulled her outside before punching and kicking her. While McDonagh held Ms O’Connor’s hand, O’Brien continued to kick the terrified woman until they were pulled away by others. While neighbours phoned the Gardai, McDonagh approached Ms O’Connor warning her “not to phone the Gardai under any circumstances or this would happen again”.
Some time after the gardai left the area O’Brien returned and started throwing rocks at the door. The court heard that O’Brien was later seen holding a knife and the Rapid Response Unit arrived on the scene.
Regarding the previous convictions, Inspector Sean Glynn said that O’Brien has received suspended sentences in the past for threatening and abusive behaviour and for obstruction.
Defence solicitor for O’Brien, Sarah O’Dowd, said that her client, who has five young children, admits she was “out of control” that night and her problems began after the break up of her marriage which led her to start drinking and mixing this with depression medication.
“I’ve had it, giving people chances... To go into somebody’s house, a family home, kick down the door where young children are and attack this woman, no civilised society can contemplate putting up with it, let some other court do it,” said Judge Mary Fahy who convicted O’Brien and imposed a total of seven months in jail. McDonagh was convicted in her absence and sentenced to seven months.