Man sprayed bleach in woman’s eyes and broke her nose at house party

October 16, 2020

A man sprayed bleach in the face of a woman and punched her in the face after she said he was too young to be drinking at a party.

Catherine Gallagher suffered horrific injuries after she was attacked by Derek McGinley at the party at a house in Letterkenny, on January 13th, 2018.

The victim suffered a broken nose during the attack and had to have it rebroken to have it treated at Sligo University Hospital.

Ms Gallagher, who was 24 at the time, told Letterkenny District Court that she had been to a bar and then Voodoo Nightclub and then to a house party at Meadowbank.

When she arrived at the house with a friend, Grainne Gallinagh, and two men.

While in the sitting room of the house she said she realised there was also a then 16 year old in the house and she said she did not want to be drinking with him.

She went into a bedroom to join her friend and the two men to drink.

However, the accused man and another man came into the room and began spraying both Fabreeze and a bottle of spray bleach.

Some of the bleach got into Ms Gallagher’s eyes and she pushed McGinley.

Words were exchanged and the woman slapped McGinley and he warned her that if she hit him again he would hit her back.

Ms Gallagher, slapped him again and McGinley lashed out with one punch and the woman fell to the ground with blood gushing from her nose.

McGinley, who is now 18, then said that Ms Gallagher “punched like a bitch.”

Gardai were called and McGinley apologised but Ms Gallagher told the accused that he could “shove his apology.”

When interviewed by Gardai, McGinley, who was just 16 at the time, said Ms Galagher was disrespecting the house by throwing pizza boxes about and when he told her to stop she told him to “f*** off.”

He denied that he sprayed Ms Gallagher with bleach and claimed it was Ms Gallagher who had actually sprayed the bleach at him.

Solicitor for McGinley of Windmill View, Letterkenny, Mr Kieran Dillon, said his client was acting out of self-defence.

He also said a lot of drink had been taken and that Ms Gallagher and her friend had been out drinking from the previous night and the alleged incident had happened at 9am the following morning.

Garda Inspector Siobhan Mollohan said “We have all seen the effects of what one punch can do and it doesn’t matter if it’s a male or female.

She did admit that she slapped him and pushed him but he had several chances to walk away but didn’t and he punched her and broke her nose.”

Ms Gallagher told the court that she was left very embarrassed and sore after the attack as she had to wear a splint on her nose while collecting her daughter from school.

Judge Paul Kelly said he found the facts proven because of a number of matters.

He said it appeared that McGinley’s actions were not self defence but retaliation saying that his use of force was excessive.

He also referred to McGinley claiming that Ms Gallagher “punched like a bitch” was a derogatory term which claimed the force used was weak and ineffective.

Judge Kelly added “He had numerous opportunities to retreat and was in no danger from this woman.”

The court was told that McGinley was not present and the JUdge ordered a bench warrant for his arrest.