A young woman was held down and had her leg cut with a knife from the groin to the knee during an incident in Askeaton at the weekend which gardai believe is connected to a feud between different factions of the Harty family living in the town.
In what is thought to be a related incident, two caravans belonging to relatives of the injured woman were set ablaze later that night.
At Newcastle West district court this Tuesday, 25-year-old Michael Harty of 16 Lismakeera, Askeaton was charged with assault causing harm and possession of a knife in relation to the incident on November 1.
Outlining garda objections to bail being granted to Mr Harty, Sgt Niall Flood told the court that gardai and local people were afraid that the feud would escalate.
“Gardai are strongly of the belief that Michael Harty is one of the main protagonists in this feud,” Sgt Flood added.
He added that the injured party had identified Mr Harty as the person who had allegedly attacked her.
“Gardai are of the belief that if he was released on bail, the accused would attempt to interfere with the injured party and other witnesses,” said Sgt Flood, pointing out that there were a large number of Harty families living in the town.
He told Judge Mary Larkin that the woman received “serious injuries to her leg inflicted while being held down”.
She also received stab wounds in the side of the groin and underwent surgery this week to treat her injuries.
A photograph of the woman’s injuries was shown to the judge in court. “In the aftermath of this, a caravan in Church View was burned to the ground belonging to her brother,” said Sgt Flood, adding that a second caravan, belonging to a cousin of the victim, was burned in the early hours of Monday morning.
“I am of the belief that this was as a direct result of the alleged assault on this girl,” Sgt Flood told the court.
He went on to say that gardai believe the initial dispute took place between two females, during the course of which it is alleged that Michael Harty got out of his own vehicle armed with a knife.
“It is alleged he inflicted the injuries to the injured part with the knife,” Sgt Flood told the court.
He added that the incident was witnessed by a number of people, including children.
“The people in Askeaton are afraid of what may happen as a result of this,” Sgt Flood said.
Solicitor, Michael O’Donnell, defending, pointed out that Mr Harty denied the accusation and that he had made a statement that he was trying to separate a group of females who were fighting. It was also pointed out that the knife used in the alleged assault had not been found.
Judge Mary Larkin refused bail on the grounds that she was “concerned about the commission of a serious offence”.
The accused was remanded in custody to appear to Limerick district court next Tuesday, November 10.