Derry Court: Man tried to take child from supervised access session

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A 42 year-old man who assaulted a day care worker as he tried to take his baby from a supervised access session has been given a four month suspended sentence.

Michael McIntyre of Maureen Avenue appeared before Derry Magistrates Court charged with common assault. The offence took place on September 15, 2014.

The court heard that McIntyre was having his weekly hour of supervised access with his eight month old baby when he told the care worker, ‘I’m taking my wain now’.

The woman tried to stop McIntyre and he grabbed her and ‘flung’ her aside causing her to fall in a chair. She got up and tried to stop him again and he punched her arm and pushed her backwards falling onto a sofa three to four foot away.

The woman sustained bruising to her arm and a sore back, shoulder and head.

The child was located and returned to the foster parent. McIntyre admitted taking the child and pushing the woman but denied punching her.

Maeliosa Barr, defence solicitor, said that McIntyre suffers from schizophrenia, takes medication and struggles with drug and alcohol issues.

Mr Barr said that McIntyre had become frustrated by the lack of contact which has since bee reduced further to a half hour a week.

He said it was a ‘very unsavoury incident’ but that it had been a ‘one off’.

District Judge Barney McElholm said: ‘It better be a one off incident. This is a very serious matter, assaulting a day care worker who was only doing her job.’

He added that he was willing to take into account the mitigating circumstances of McIntyre’s mental health and the fact that he had no relevant previous record.

McIntyre, who receives over £1,000 a month on benefits, was ordered to pay the injured party £600 in compensation and was given a four month prison sentence suspended for two years.

District Judge McElholm said: ‘Any repetition and he will go straight to prison.’