Garda hit woman to protect self, court told

A garda who survived a gun attack while on holidays in the US two years ago claimed yesterday at Nenagh District Court that he had to strike out with his fist to protect himself from a woman who he says attacked him while he was on his way home from a night out.

Garda hit woman to protect self, court told

Garda Brian Hanrahan, aged 34, of Dublin Rd, Nenagh, Co Tipperary, denied assaulting Eimear Kelly and Aisling King at Lisboney on March 5, 2016, after Ms King agreed to give him a lift home after he failed to get a taxi.

Ms Kelly recalled being with Ms King driving around Nenagh at around 4am on March 5, 2016, when they saw Mr Hanrahan trying to flag down cars.

After they stopped, Garda Hanrahan asked for a lift home to Liffey Mills, offering €15, she said.

Ms King agreed to drive him home. In the car, he became cocky and arrogant, saying Nenagh was full of scumbags, she said.

As they drove by Lisboney graveyard, Ms King ordered the accused to get out.

Ms Kelly also got out and asked him for the “€20” he had agreed to pay. The accused, she said, then pulled her hair, knocked her to the ground and started kicking her in the face.

She got six or eight blows as Hanrahan kept punching her. Dental repairs to her teeth cost €510.

Cross-examined by Siobhan Lankford, defending, Ms Kelly denied being drunk, aggressive, and grabbing the accused and tearing his shirt. Ms King said that after Ms Kelly approached the accused for the €15, she saw her in a ball “on the floor” trying to protect her face. She had no drink that night as she was driving.

Garda Joan Larkin said she met Ms Kelly at the scene. Her mouth was bleeding and a tooth was loose. She said they had given a lift home to a man who agreed to pay €15 for the drive. When she asked him for the money, he punched her.

While Garda Larkin was at the scene, the accused appeared out of the dark and the girls said “that is the man”.

He was staggering, quite drunk, and upset. He had blood and a cut on the knuckle area of his right hand and said he had got these defending himself.

In evidence, Garda Hanrahan recalled his difficulty getting a taxi to his home 4km from Nenagh before he agreed to pay a woman €20 to get him home.

He said he was off-duty that day and had a maximum of six pints. When in the car, a woman in the back seat demanded €50 and said if he did not hand it over, they would bring him to her boyfriend’s house and he would kick the shit out of him.

The car stopped and he got out near the graveyard. He said the woman who demanded the €50, Ms Kelly, came at him looking for the money.

She grabbed his wrist and hit him in the face. He swung his arm with his closed fist and struck her in the face once to defend himself. He then made a 999 call.

In 2015, Garda Hanrahan survived being shot in the back and leg after he withdrew money from an ATM in New Orleans.

Judge Elizabeth MacGrath adjourned her decision to February 10.

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