A County Roscommon man who told a county Sligo woman that he was going to “kick her f…..g head in and kick her car if she did not give him €20”, has been given a suspended jail sentence, at Carrick-on-Shannon Court.
Paula Murray from Brayfield, Gurteen, County Sligo told the court the incident had terrified her. and it had traumatised her son’s partner who was afraid to come to court to give evidence.
“I don’t get frightened very often, but he terrified me, and I am now afraid to go for a walk on my own”
59-year-old Joe Linnane, Croghan, Boyle County Roscommon denied a charge of assaulting Ms Murray at Super Valu Boyle, County Roscommon on December 31 2019.
The victim told the court she was coming from Carrick-on-Shannon and was about to go into Super Valu shop in Boyle to get credit for her phone.
Shortly after she pulled into the forecourt she looked up and saw a man staggering out of the shop.
She got her handbag and suddenly the defendant was right in her face.
He caught her right hand and squeezed it very tightly hurting her.
“Something in me told me not to argue with him”.
“He said he was going to kick my f**king head in and kick my car if I did not give him €20”.
The victim said she heard a car tooting, and it was her son’s partner who was parked in front of the shop.
Ms Murray got away and went to the other woman’s car and they locked the doors.
They could see the defendant chasing another car and “spewing offensive language”.
The man left and Ms Murray got into her own car and went to Londis in the town.
She said she could hear the defendant shouting again and a young fellow in the shop asked her if she was all right.
The witness told him that she was after being attacked by the defendant and the young fellow walked her to her car.
“That man was in my face at Super Valu, and he held my hand so tightly that it hurt”.
She added that on the day before when she was at another shop in Boyle, she was told the man was going around her car wearing a cowboy hat.
The witness said the defendant was not known to her.
She identified the defendant who was sitting in the body of the court.
“I will never forget his face, ever”.
Defence solicitor John Anderson said his client would say he met Ms Murray in a dark car park, and it was her who put out her hand.
“Because he was in my face”, the witness replied.
The solicitor said the defendant thought the witness was shaking hands, so he shook hands.
The defendant would deny that he called out to her.
“I will never forget it and your client is wrong”, said Ms Murray.
The solicitor said her son’s partner made no statement.
Ms Murray said the woman was pregnant at the time and was too traumatised to come to court.
The solicitor said it was a misunderstanding and the defendant apologised for the misunderstanding.
“But he did not mean to harm you”.
Garda Kelly said he got a report of an alleged assault from Paula Murray.
She had been in the car park of Super Valu in Boyle when she saw a tall slim man with a bit of twist in his mouth on December 31.
The garda later looked at CCTV of the matter and saw a male fitting that description who was known to him as Joe Linnane of Croghan, Boyle.
The garda spoke to the defendant on March 27 about the incident.
He declined to make a statement saying:
“Sure, they are only after my money”.
Joe Linnane told the court he had gone to Super Valu for fags and when he came out he thought he saw a woman, whom he believed to be Marie Brennan from Aughnacliffr in County Longford, who had been a friend of his years ago.
“I thought it was her again after all these years.
“So why was she in Boyle and I said hello Marie, and the next thing she said was f..k off.
“She said I am getting the guards, I am getting the guards.
“She snapped and I wasn’t even at Londis”.
He denied that he asked Paula Murray for money and said it was a case of mistaken identity.
“I am sorry if she was frightened, but I had no intention of harming her.
“She is a total black stranger, and I did not assault her”.
Inspector Michael Collins asked the defendant how long it was since he had seen the other lady.
The defendant said it had been four years.
The Inspector said the evidence of Ms Murray was that the defendant grabbed her hand and squeezed it tightly.
“It was a normal handshake”, the defendant replied.
The court was told the footage would show a drunk man.
The defendant denied he had been drunk.
“No, I was in a bad accident, and I can be staggery at times in my head too, and my skin is rotten and is falling off me after the accident, I am staggery yeah”.
Inspector Collins asked the defendant why he said: “Sure, they are only after my money”, when asked to make a statement.
The defendant replied: “Several people have pestered me for money, and I thought it was another of these shams trying to set me up.
“I actually thought it was a joke at first”.
Mr Anderson said that his client was familiar with the courts and the law but was not a violent man by nature.
The solicitor suggested that Ms Murray had over-reacted.
The Inspector said there was a handshake and there were also words, and her hand was held tight and that was a Section 2 assault.
Judge Deirdre Gearty said she was satisfied that this was an assault and convicted the defendant
The court heard the defendant had previous convictions for harassment, criminal damage, and assault.
Mr Anderson said his client had a difficult life.
He was a farmer and Judge Kevin Kilrane knew him very well and gave him a chance.
The defendant had been in a serious road traffic accident which has left him in poor financial circumstances.
Judge Deirdre Gearty said she did not believe in compensation in these types of cases as this was a criminal procedure.
The defendant had a “history of being here before”.
The judge jailed the defendant for four months and suspended the sentence for a year provided the defendant had no direct or indirect contact with the victim or her family.
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