10 Aug 2022

Nua Healthcare worker had hair pulled and face scratched

Nua Healthcare worker had hair pulled and face scratched

A resident of a Nua Healthcare unit in Laois who twice assaulted her support worker has been given a suspended sentence.

At last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court, Natasha Coffey (26) was charged with assault causing harm, and assault causing harm at Main Street, Portarlington.

Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that on April 20 last, a support worker with Nua Healthcare was with the accused at Main Street, Portarlington, when the accused became aggressive and lashed out, ripping out some of the worker’s hair.

Later that same day, the support worker was going paperwork at the accused’s residence when the accused again grabbed her hair, this time scratching the worker’s forehead with her fingernails.

The accused had 17 previous convictions, including a number of assaults.

She received a suspended sentence for a previous offence.

Defence, Mr Barry Fitzgerald said the accused had acute psychological difficulties and is now in care home in Athy. He said the accused was struggling with her difficulties.

The court heard that the injured party in the case has moved with the accused to Athy and is happy to continue working with her.

Judge Catherine Staines noted that the accused had been convicted of numerous serious assaults in July and the court had given her a chance.

She said the accused had been behaving herself since then and the latest charges predated the imposition of the suspended sentence.

Judge Staines imposed a six-month sentence, suspended for one year on the accused’s own bond of €100.

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