Man who lost kids’ birth certs attacked woman and spat at Garda

July 30, 2021

A Co Donegal man who assaulted a woman with a chair and then spat at a Garda after losing his children’s birth certs has been jailed for sixteen months.

Joseph Colhoun appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court following an incident at Fortwell, Letterkenny on December 30th, 2020.

Colhoun had been staying at the apartment after finding himself homeless.

Garda Shane Walsh told the court he arrived at the flat at 11pm and found Ms Patricia Gallagher with two lacerations to her head and bruising to her face.

She had been attacked by Colhoun whom she had allowed to stay in her home for a period of time.

The court heard the 39-year-old had been drinking and had thrown a bedside locker at Ms Gallagher after he called her ‘Fatso’ and then hit her with a chair.

When arrested, Colhoun was taken to Letterkenny Garda station where he spat at Detective Garda Frank McDaid.

He was charged with assault causing harm as well as criminal damage.

Barrister for Colhoun, of Fortwell Court, Letterkenny, but who is originally from Lifford, Ms Kelda Doherty said her client had suffered a tragic life.

He had lost his mother in 2011, his brother drowned and then his father took his own life at the same bridge where his brother had died.

His life had spiralled out of control and he was drinking two to three bottles of whiskey a day and was taking handfuls of painkillers.

Ms Doherty said it was evident there was a great level of “self destruction” in Mr Colhoun’s life.

He had tried to put his life together and was a scaffolder but his life took a downward turn in 2018 when he lost his father after the loss of his mother and brother.

On the night of the attack, he had reacted when many of his belongings including his own children’s birth certificates went had gone missing which he perceived as a crisis situation.

A letter from Colhoun to the court said that he was now off drink and drugs for seven months and said he was ashamed of what he had done on the night.

Judge John Aylmer sentenced Colhoun to a total of 16 months in prison and backdated the sentence to December 30th, 2020 when he went into custody.