14 Aug 2022

Murdered Offaly man's partner convicted of assaulting woman

Murdered Offaly man's partner convicted of assaulting woman

The late Mark Loughlin featured in evidence given at Tullamore District Court hearing

THE mother of murdered Offaly man Mark Loughlin's two children has been convicted of assaulting a woman 18 months before his death.

After evidence was given of an alleged love triangle, Tullamore District Court heard that Deanna Gill, 22, of 58 Mirena Court, Athy, Co Kildare, intends to appeal a three-month suspended sentence imposed on her for assaulting Julia Mooney in Edenderry on July 22, 2019.

Ms Gill was also found guilty of breaking Ms Mooney's glasses during the incident at JKL Street in the Co Offaly town.

During a hearing before Judge Catherine Staines, Ms Gill alleged that Ms Mooney was in a relationship with Mr Loughlin while she was pregnant with the man's child, a claim the other woman denied.

Judge Staines convicted Ms Gill, who was eight months pregnant at the time of the assault, after hearing she broke the other young woman's glasses and hit her twice in the face.

Ms Mooney told the court Ms Gill stormed up to her when she was sitting in the passenger seat of a car with her boyfriend and opened the door.

The accused slapped her on the face and threw her glasses on the ground.

“She came back in to hit me twice but I put my hands up to try and stop her,” said Ms Mooney.

She said Ms Gill accused her mother of ringing the guards about her and added: “I told you I'd kill you.”

Ms Mooney said it cost her €200 to get new glasses and added that her mother had called the guards previously because Ms Gill was threatening her at her house.

She described the accused as “very angry” and said she would have gone “hell for leather” for her if she wasn't heavily pregnant.

Garda Niall Eogan, who said the incident occurred at 10.25pm, told the court there was CCTV footage of the incident from two cameras, one at the Golden Fries premises and another at Fit Squad gym.

Judge Staines did not admit the CCTV as evidence because the gardai had not brought the camera owner to court.

In cross-examination, defending solicitor Michael Byrne (Aonghus McCarthy Solicitors) put it to Ms Mooney that she was in an intimate relationship with Ms Gill's deceased boyfriend at a time when the accused was pregnant.

“I wasn't with him while they were together,” replied Ms Mooney.

When Mr Byrne asked if she had further contact with Mr Loughlin last December, Ms Mooney said she could not remember.

In her evidence, Deanna Gill said she was in Edenderry on July 22, 2019 to pick up a Chinese takeaway from the Peking but prior to that she had heard Ms Mooney had been going around a pub in Derrinturn saying “I want to go out with Yob”. The late Mark Loughlin's nickname was Yob.

Ms Gill said she saw the other woman in the car and asked her what she was saying about Mark and also said to Ms Mooney: “You were told he was with me.”

Ms Gill denied hitting Ms Mooney and said that while she took her glasses off and threw them on the floor of the car, they did not break because she did not throw them hard enough.

“I said something to her boyfriend like 'I hope you know what your girlfriend is doing',” Ms Gill added.

She said Ms Mooney was with Mr Loughlin three or four weeks after she had his baby and added that she had his phone to prove she texted him.

Replying to Sergeant James O'Sullivan, Ms Gill said she was “kind of angry” when she took Ms Mooney's glasses off and added: “I wanted to hit her but I didn't hit her”.

Convicting Ms Gill of assault, Judge Staines said she accepted Ms Mooney's evidence that she had been assaulted.

The judge also noted that hearing the prosecution had been delayed for so long because on one occasion a warrant had to be issued for Ms Gill after she had not attended in court.

In victim impact evidence Judge Staines heard Ms Mooney's nose had been marked because of the assault and she was still afraid to go back into Edenderry.

Also, that day in the courthouse corridor before the hearing, the victim felt intimidated when the accused was having a video chat with a woman they both knew and said she would “call over” to where Ms Mooney lived.

Appealing for leniency, Mr Byrne said the crime was uncharacteristic for his client and was committed in the context of her belief that her boyfriend was having a relationship with the injured party.

Her children were now aged two years and 10 months and along with significant health difficulties, she was in dire financial straits following the demise of her partner earlier this year.

Judge Staines said the accused had not shown remorse and noted that because she had pleaded not guilty, the injured party had to come to court and have matters of a very personal nature put to her.

Asked by Judge Staines to make an apology, Ms Gill stood up briefly and said she was sorry.

The judge ordered that €300 be paid from the court poor box to Ms Mooney to compensate her for her glasses and the upset she had suffered.

Hearing that Ms Gill had one previous conviction for drugs possession, Judge Staines imposed the three-month suspended sentence but on the instructions of Mr Byrne, she fixed recognisances for an appeal.

The judge told Ms Mooney that she will have to give her evidence again when the appeal is heard in the Circuit Court.

Mark Loughlin, Greenwood Park, Edenderry, died at Naas General Hospital on Sunday, January 3 last after being found with severe injuries on a roadside at Allenwood South, Co Kildare.

Gardai believe Mr Loughlin was assaulted after a collision between a car and a van in the early hours of the morning.

Last April gardai said they arrested eight individuals, including six men, one woman and one male juvenile, in connection with their investigation into the murder of Mr Loughlin.

Those detained were later released without charge and at the time gardai said a file would be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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