Jailed for unprovoked assault on shoppers

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

By Theresa Casey

theresa.casey@derryjournal.com

Twitter: @derryjournal

Gwyneth Victoria Doherty, of Magazine Street, was jailed for six months at Derry Magistrates Court.

Doherty pleaded guilty to two charges of common assault on November 28, 2015.

The court was told the two complainants were out shopping and were walking towards The Diamond when they were approached by the 37-year-old.

Doherty allegedly became aggressive’ and began shouting orange b*******’ at the women.

It is alleged Doherty began swinging a plastic bag she was carrying, hitting one of the women on the arm.

She also allegedly chased both women around a parked car throwing her fists towards them.

One of the women was struck on the finger and broke a nail.

Doherty is then accused of punching the same woman to the face and knocking off her glasses.

The defendant had shouted orange b*******’ at the two complainants up to 15 times during the incident.

Both women were ‘distressed and upset’ by what happened and said it was ‘completely unprovoked’.

During police interview, Doherty said she had consumed an ‘excessive’ amount of alcohol the night before and caused damage to her flat.

She said she had gone to Bishop Street to try to find her landlord but when she was unable to, so decided to get herself arrested.

The court heard the 37-year-old told police ‘she had heard Hydebank is a good place to get help for mental health issues’.

She also claimed she was sorry for her behaviour, adding that she would have ‘assaulted anyone she saw that day to get herself arrested’.

Doherty also denied that her comments were sectarian and stated ‘this is the way people speak in our society to get themselves noticed’.

Paddy Kelly, defending, told the court his client had knows she is in breach of a suspended sentence and is at ‘serious risk’ of going to prison.

Jailing the 37-year-old, District Judge Barney McElholm said ‘she deliberately targeted two completely innocent people out shopping and having a cup of coffee. One can easily imagine your wife, sister or daughter doing the same’.

He said there were other ways Doherty could have got help that ‘didn’t involve assaulting and traumatising two completely innocent people’.