Street fighting Limerick mums at school collection time a ‘disgrace’ – judge

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

The judge said the behaviour of two women brawling on the street at school collection time was “disgraceful”

The judge said the behaviour of two women brawling on the street at school collection time was “disgraceful”

A JUDGE said the behaviour of two women brawling on the street at school collection time was “disgraceful” and they “should be ashamed of themselves”.

Judge Marian O’Leary said for a parent to behave like they did was “unforgivable”.

“I feel so sorry for the children who witnessed this. What kind of example are you setting? Outrageous is all I can say,” said Judge O’Leary.

Sharon Beary, aged 38, of Hillview Grove, Doon pleaded not guilty to assaulting Joanne Boddy, and threatening, abusive, insulting behaviour in Doon on June 7, 2017.

Ms Boddy said she had collected her daughter and neighbour’s child from school in Doon. Her youngest child was in a car seat.

“Main Street is very busy at school time. I drove down to the Post Office to turn to come home. I was driving back up. I gave right of way to another car, somebody opened my door and hit me with something in the forehead. She dazzled me. She caught me by the hair and pulled me out of the car. When I got out it was pulling each other’s hair. I was trying to get her off of me. Kids were screaming,” said Ms Boddy, who admitted to Sergeant Michelle Leahy that she wasn’t wearing a safety belt.

“We fell on to the road on top of each other. There was hitting and screaming. I was asking her to stop. My child got out of the car. She was scared. She was screaming. The two of us [Ms Beary and Ms Boddy] were pulling hair, kicking, digging - I was trying to get her off me,” said Ms Boddy, who added that they both agreed to let go of each other’s hair.

Ms Boddy said Ms Beary told her, “I’ll get you again”. The court heard both women used to live in the same estate in Doon but Ms Boddy has since moved to Limerick city.

John Cooke, solicitor for Ms Beary, said his client will say she never hit Ms Boddy in the car. He put it to Ms Boddy that she rolled down the car window, was “roaring and laughing” and said to Ms Beary, “You will do nothing”.

“You got out of the car and then it all kicked off,” said Mr Cooke.

“That’s false. She hit me on the forehead and she pulled me out of the car,” said Ms Boddy.

Mr Cooke said Ms Boddy looked for and sought this row. “I don’t argue around my kids. I wouldn’t be inviting her to fight when I have three kids in the car,” said Ms Boddy.

Mr Cooke handed in a copy of a Snapchat he said Ms Boddy sent to one of Ms Beary’s daughters. It read, “I’m gonna dig up your dad’s grave and throw him through the window”.

Judge Marian O’Leary said: “I have no idea what this is all about. I don’t do social media.”

Sergeant Michelle Leahy said only side of the conversation was submitted.

“We were only made aware this morning. It is unfair to see only one side,” said Sgt Leahy.

Ms Boddy was the only State witness. Sgt Leahy said the investigating garda, John Ryan had canvassed the Main Street of Doon but “nobody was willing to make a statement”.

Garda Ryan said when he approached Ms Beary she said: “She did not know what I was talking about”. When he met Ms Boddy she made a statement of complaint.

The last person to give evidence was Ms Beary who said she was going for a walk around the GAA field.

“I passed her [Ms Boddy] twice. She said, ‘I’ll do nothing’. She was laughing and joking. I said, ‘Get out of the car’. I did not pull her out. The two of us took off fighting. She went back into her car. She said, ‘We’ll finish it in the estate’,” said Ms Beary.

“She basically invited me over. She got out of the car. It was pulling hair first and then hitting and screaming. It was in the middle of the road,” continued Ms Beary.

Sgt Leahy said it was the State’s case that Ms Beary assaulted Ms Boddy in her car.

“Ms Beary pulled her out of the car. They were hitting and screaming in the middle of the road,” said Sgt Leahy.

Mr Cooke said Ms Beary was clear in her evidence that Ms Boddy shouted at her and rather than being pulled out, Ms Boddy got out of her car.

“It is six and one and half a dozen of the other,” said Mr Cooke.

Judge O’Leary said both women “behaved disgracefully”. “You should be ashamed of yourselves,” said Judge O’Leary. “I am,” said Ms Beary.

“For a parent to behave like you did was unforgivable. I feel so sorry for children who witnessed this. What kind of example are you setting? Outrageous is all I can say,” said Judge O’Leary, who found Ms Beary guilty of assault and threatening, abusive, insulting behaviour.

The judge ordered a report on Ms Beary’s suitability to carry out 150 hours of community service in lieu of two months in prison. The case was adjourned.