Narrowly avoids jail for pulling hair

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A heavily pregnant Dungannon mother has been given a suspended jail sentence for attacking two women and damaging a mobile phone at a local bar.

Erin Wray, 21, from Cloneen, appeared at Dungannon Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday accused of criminal damage and common assault.

The court heard how on Boxing Day of last year, a group of three friends returned from the dance floor at a popular Dungannon bar to find that their drinks and handbags had been taken.

Wray was spotted holding the handbags and behaving in a suspicious manner.

The defendant then slapped one of the women twice across her face when she tried to grab her handbag back, and pulled the hair of another woman, who recognised the defendant from their school days together.

Wray also emptied the contents of the handbag across the floor, damaging a mobile phone to the cost of £280.

Door staff subsequently threw out Wray, who was later arrested by police and claimed to have no memory of the incident due to intoxication, when questioned the next morning.

Her defence solicitor said she was deeply ashamed by her behaviour, which was entirely fuelled by alcohol. She had no adverse history with the injured parties. Wray also claimed to have been so drunk she had no idea where she was. She was in a stable relationship and had no previous record, he added.

However, Judge John Meehan accused the defendant, who is eight months pregnant, of showing no remorse in her pre-sentence report. Wray had made no effort at compensating the victim for her damaged phone, he said, adding that hair-pulling was a very painful. The judge sentenced her to three months in prison, suspended, and warned that it was up to Wray to address her abuse of alcohol.