“Prime suspect” in golf club assault of woman remanded in custody

Fears of a feud returning to Mullingar were given as the prime reason a man charged on Wednesday (September 21 ) with the assault of a 60-year-old woman with a golf club in her own home on Monday morning, was remanded in custody for at least another week after gardaí opposed bail.

Athlone District Court heard from Detective Garda Eric Naughton how he arrested Damien Groome Jnr (24 ), with an address given as 4 St Anthony’s Cottages, Patrick Street, Mullingar, in Dalton Park at 11.45 am on Tuesday, and that Groome made no reply to a charge of assault causing harm.

Garda Naughton explained how the elderly lady, who slept downstairs because of a long-term bronchial illness, was disturbed at around 2am on Monday, and when she went outside to investigate, was “viciously assaulted” with a golf club which saw her arm broken in three places. Her son and his partner were asleep upstairs at the time.

He told Judge Seamus Hughes that the injured woman, who also suffered from septicaemia, was being operated in Tullamore “today”, but that she’d “had a bad turn on Monday which necessitated her family being called in”.

“Judge, this is a very, very serious offence, and is part of an ongoing feud going back to December. This assault was an integral part of the event. This male is the prime suspect,” said Garda Naughton.

As the Director of Public Prosectutions had not yet indicated where Groome was to be tried, the Gardaí sought a remand in custody as further charges were anticipated.

Defence solicitor Padraig Quinn said his client “consented to overnight remand” to appear the next day in Mullingar, but Garda Naughton vigorously opposed this, and outlined his fears of escalation.

“Will it [the feud] continue?” asked Judge Hughes.

“Without doubt,”said Garda Naughton.

“This was an elderly woman who had nothing to do with it.”

“I won’t consider bail, and if you don’t like that, you may apply to the High Court,” said Judge Hughes as he remanded Groome in custody to appear at Cloverhill District Court next week on September 28.

Mr Quinn began to object but was stopped by the judge.

“Did you hear what I said? Remand in custody,” said Judge Hughes.

Mr Quinn applied for legal aid on behalf of his unemployed client.

“Does he sell cars, scrap metal?” asked Judge Hughes. When Mr Quinn denied this, and suported a belief of Garda Naughton that Groome may have worked part-time with his cousin as a farrier, Judge Hughes granted legal aid.


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