Mum-of-two doesn’t feel safe in her Limerick home

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

Kilmallock Courthouse
A MUM-of-two doesn’t feel safe in her County Limerick home after she was beaten up in her hallway, heard Kilmallock Court.

A MUM-of-two doesn’t feel safe in her County Limerick home after she was beaten up in her hallway, heard Kilmallock Court.

Agatha Rice said she was curled up on the floor in her house as she was kicked and punched in the afternoon.

Anne Marie O’Driscoll, aged 33, of Saint Brendan’s Drive, Charleville; William O’Driscoll, aged 36, of Glenview Drive, Hospital; Christopher Gourey, aged 27, Knockainey and Mary O’Driscoll, aged 26, of Glenview Drive, Hospital were found guilty of violent disorder by Judge Marian O’Leary.

The case against Ann O’Driscoll, aged 61, of Glenview Drive, Hospital was dismissed.

Inspector Luke Conlon asked Ms Rice what occurred at her house in Glenview Drive, Hospital on November 15, 2014.

“I was upstairs in the bedroom. I heard a banging at my front door. A woman I now know to be Anne Marie O’Driscoll was shouting something. I came downstairs very frightened. I saw the family of O’Driscolls at my front door. Anne Marie was in my hallway shouting, ‘Get the f*** down’. William, Ann, Mary and Christopher Gourey were at my door.

“I asked them to leave my house but they wouldn’t. Anne Marie hit me on my lip. I was so afraid. I tried to push her a bit and run. Her whole family came in and started kicking me and punching me.

“I was just curled up on the floor. Kicks and punches were coming from everybody. My hair was pulled, my face was scratched and I had bruises all over my body. After they finished kicking me and punching me they ran out of my house,” said Ms Rice.

Paula McCarthy, barrister for the five defendants, who all pleaded not guilty, said it is accepted that Anne Marie knocked on the door but the other four weren’t at the house.

“Anne Marie called about an issue you [Ms Rice] were having with her mother [Ann] and there was a scuffle - you caught hold of each other. That was the height of it,” said Ms McCarthy.

Ms Rice asked how she got the bruises and photographs were given to Judge O’Leary.

Ms McCarthy said they were historical bruises as they had gone yellow and weren’t taken on the day.

“No, that is what I had after the attack,” said Ms Rice, who added that she doesn’t feel safe in her home now.

Ms McCarthy accused Ms Rice of making threats.

“No. I have been harrassed by them. I am on my own with two children. I am looking over my shoulder everyday - at the school, passing their house in the estate,” said Ms Rice.

Two teenagers, aged 14 and 16, gave evidence that they were sitting on a wall talking when they heard “screaming and banging”.

They both said they saw Anne Marie at the door and William, Mary Kate, Christopher walking up to the door and going in.

The barrister put it to them that this differs from the victim’s evidence.

“She would have had a different point of view as she was upstairs at the time,” one said.

After the accused had left the two said they went in to the house where they found Ms Rice crying; she had marks on her face and they took photos.

A third teenager, who was sitting with the previous two on the wall, took the stand and said she saw Anne Marie knocking on the door.

“I heard roaring so I went to William and Ann’s house to tell them,” they said.

Sergeant Michael Brennan, who attended the scene, said there was evidence of a disturbance.

“There were clumps of hair on the kitchen table and visible bruising on her arms,” said Sgt Brennan, who told the court he didn’t know the origins of it but there is an ongoing verbal conflict between the families.

The sergeant said there were five recorded conflicts between the O’Driscolls and Ms Rice with one complaint made four days before the case was due to take place in Kilmallock. Sgt Brennan said the O’Driscolls had been co-operative with gardai in relation to arresting them.

Anne Marie O’Driscoll took the stand and said she drove up to Ms Rice’s house.

“My mother was very upset over ongoing things. Ms Rice was making gestures [towards her]. We have mutual friends. I knocked on the door, she said go away and pushed me. There was a scuffle - holding onto each other,” said Anne Marie.

Ms McCarthy asked her were there any other family members there.

“No, I heard William calling my name. He was halfway up,” said Anne Marie.

Ms McCarthy said that Ms Rice described all the family kicking and punching her.

“That is lies. That is not the truth,” said Anne Marie.

Insp Conlon said there was evidence of a scuffle inside the house and asked her how that damage happened.

“I did not enter the house. I don’t know,” said Anne Marie.

William said he was at his mother’s home when there was a knock at the door from a teenager.

“I went up. Anne Marie was driving back. We spoke briefly and I went home,” said William.

Ann O’Driscoll said she was putting away the messages after being shopping in Tipperary when the teenager came to the door.

“I didn’t know what was going on. There was something going on with Aga Rice. I was just getting in my car when Anne Marie was coming back,” said Ann.

Mary O’Driscoll and Christopher Gourey said they stayed in Ann O’Driscoll’s house with their child the entire time.

Judge O’Leary said she listened very carefully to the evidence and especially that of the two teenagers, who didn’t know the complainant at the time. She found Anne Marie, William, Mary O’Driscoll and Christopher Gourey guilty of violent disorder but dismissed the case against Ann O’Driscoll as she had a “doubt”.

Anne Marie was given a three month sentence suspended for 12 months and a fine of €200; William, one month imprisonment suspended for nine months and €200 fine; Mary and Christopher were bound to the peace for 18 months. Recognaissance was fixed in the event of an appeal.