Two innocent men attacked in ‘orgy of gratuitous violence’

Wheel brace and high heel shoe used

An unprovoked attack on two men as they walked home from a night out in Ballina was described by Judge Mary Devins as “an orgy of gratuitous violence”.

At Ballina District Court on Tuesday Paul Coleman, 23 Amana Estate, Ballina and Caroline Ryder, 165 Greenhills Estate, Ballina pleaded guilty to the assaults.

Superintendent Joe Doherty said that gardaí attended the scene of an assault on October 30 2011 at Behy Road. When they arrived they found two bloodied men— Sean McGarry (20 ) and Padraig O’Hora (19 ). The superintendent said that Mr McGarry “was bleeding profusely” from a head wound. The head wound, which was a six centimetre laceration, needed five staples. The man’s face and hands were covered in blood and he also had puncture wounds on his back. Mr O’Hora had bruises to his face, a bite mark on his back and puncture marks on his back. The puncture marks were caused by a high heel shoe.

Earlier that night in a pub’s smoking area, a man (who has since left the jurisdiction ) headbutted Mr McGarry in an unproved attack. Mr O’Hora dragged the man off his friend and the man was ejected by security staff. Later that night Mr O’Hora received text messages asking where he was. Mr O’Hora gave the location of where he and Mr McGarry were as he thought it was a friend texting him.

A car pulled up alongside them and two men (one being the man from the pub ) and Coleman got out. Ryder also got out of the car.

Coleman, without warning, attacked Mr McGarry with a wheel brace. In a statement from Mr McGarry he said that he was “dripping blood” and he tried to defend himself. Ryder prevented Mr McGarry from defending himself as Mr McGarry said that he was dragged by his jumper backwards by Ryder. Mr McGarry was then struck another blow to the head by Coleman with the wheel brace and he was knocked unconscious. Witnesses saw Ryder kick out at Mr McGarry while he was unconscious.

The other man at the scene assaulted Mr O’Hora and Ryder also assaulted him.

Ryder used her high heel shoe to attack both men.

Ryder (22 ) has no previous convictions, Coleman (27 ) has one previous conviction.

Solicitor for Coleman, Gerry McGovern said that “ it was very out of character” for Coleman to act in such a manner. Mr McGovern said that his client was not in the pub earlier in the night when an incident occurred. The solicitor said that Coleman was handed a wheel brace while he was in the car and “he got involved with something he knew nothing about”. Mr McGovern said that Coleman’s judgement was blurred as he was “full to the brim” with alcohol.

John Gordon, solicitor for Ryder said that she got a lift in the car that night and got “swept along in the madness of the moment”. The solicitor said that his client accepts that she used her shoe to hit both in the back. Mr Gordon said he was “personally horrified” to learn of the amount of alcohol taken by Ryder that night. He said that Ryder has worked her whole life, and was successful in receiving a visa for Australia, however she stayed to face the consequences. Mr Gordon said that his client has produced €500 as a token gesture for compensation.

Ryder told the court that she did not know what came over her that night. “If I wasn’t drinking it wouldn’t have got out of hand” she said, adding that she feels “so sorry for the two lads and their parents...everytime I think about it breaks my heart”.

Judge Mary Devins said that the case was “utterly shocking”. The judge said that “a very vicious, evil hunting party” targeted two innocent men “as prey” in a “blood lust” and viciously beat the two young men. The judge said that Mr McGarry could have died or been left paralysed and she said that Ryder “behaved like a vicious type of alley cat”.

Judge Devins remanded both on continuing bail to October 23 for probation reports. The judge said that if either of the injured parties are in court that day and want to be heard, that they would.

 

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