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09 Dec 2021

'Appalling act': Couple who tried to stop house party in Longford estate assaulted

Husband and wife suffered psychological and physical injuries in assault

' Appalling act': Couple who tried to stop house party in Longford estate assaulted

Judge Seamus Hughes has refused jurisdiction in the case of an assault incident on a husband and wife who were trying to break up a house party.

The victims of the assault appeared in court to give evidence last week. Defendant, Ian Whelan, 9 The Mill, Clondra, also appeared but a co-accused, Dannielle Shanley, 30 Springlawn, Longford, did not appear due to pregnancy.

“The assault Ms Shanley is alleged to have made is the lesser of the two,” said defence solicitor, Frank Gearty.

“Mr Whelan’s assault was far worse. He is accused of two section 3 assaults.”

The victims explained to the court that on August 2, 2020, outside a property in Old Ardnacassa, they were assaulted after asking their neighbours to put a stop to a house party they’d been having.

The female victim explained that she was assaulted first by Ms Shanley who grabbed her by the hair while she was inside the property, and then by Mr Whelan, who punched her in the face after she said she was calling the gardaí.

She told the court that, as a result of the punch, she was off work for three to four weeks, suffered a black eye, the bruising from which went down the side of her face and was visible for three weeks, and nerve damage under her left eye.

She also said that she still sees a psychologist on a weekly basis for anxiety disorder because “the whole episode affected me quite badly”.

“What I saw was very disturbing,” she said, referring to the memory of her husband being assaulted, as well as her own assault.

Examining photographs of the woman’s injuries, Judge Seamus Hughes said that he couldn’t recognise the woman due to the severity of the bruising on her face.

The woman’s husband suffered bruising to his face, as well as lacerations to the back of his skull. He also suffered bruising under his arms from being dragged from outside the party house and into the driveway of his own house next door.

His wife explained that bruising to the man’s back shown in the photographs was a footprint, adding that there were “several other parties involved” in the assault.

“I came out at about 2am to bring the dog across to the green to relieve himself,” the woman explained.

“I heard a lot of noise and loud music so I knocked on the window and shouted ‘give it a rest’. There was smoke coming out of the window.

“It certainly hadn’t been the first time we’d asked them to turn the music down. There were six, seven, maybe eight people in the room and I told them to knock it off,” she continued.

“There are elderly people on one side and there’s a girl with small children in the house attached to theirs.

“They told me to come around to the door so I went around and they said to step inside for a second.”

At this stage, the woman had asked her husband to come down and he came outside and, when he arrived next door, he received a punch to the head, the court heard.

“While that was happening, somebody told me to shut my face and then the woman pulled my hair and when I turned around, I saw the scuffle at the door, so I said ‘right, I’m calling the guards’,” said the woman.

At this stage, she added, Mr Whelan had said ‘I didn’t do anything’ and, when she insisted she was calling the guards, “he punched me straight in the face”.

“I said ‘no-one touches my wife’ and three or four of them pushed me and dragged me out of the house over to our house and I was assaulted on the ground. It was all a bit of a blur,” the man added.

Mr Whelan was the tenant in the house at the time, the court heard, but he was evicted a week after the incident.

“You received significant physical injuries,” Judge Hughes noted.

“I also had a pain in my eye, which took four weeks to subside. I was unable to work because I couldn’t look at my laptop,” the man replied.

“I had one to one counselling after the event. I had six counselling sessions and suffered anxiety, especially surrounded by people wearing masks and not being able to see people’s faces when going to the shops.”

Judge Hughes said he was refusing jurisdiction “becauase of the phychological trauma of the woman and also because of the man’s physical injuries”.

“Often in cases I have seen recently, I’m refusing jurisdiction because of psychological injury. Wounds heal but fear and anxiety does not,” he said.

“I’m refusing jurisdiction for both - I cannot divide the defendants,” he added when it was requested that he consider the fact that Ms Shanley’s involvement was less serious.

“(The woman) is the person who was most seriously injured, even though (the man) was more injured on the night. Her injuries are long term.

“This was an appalling act,” he concluded.

Mr Whelan and Ms Shanley will reappear at Longford District Court on June 22 when they will be served with the book of evidence. The case will then be heard in Longford Circuit Court at a later date.

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