A Lurgan woman who punched a Praxis care worker has been sentenced to four months in custody.
Esther McKey, (26), appeared before Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry Courthouse, via videolink from Hydebank Prison.
The sentence, for the charge of common assault, is to be served concurrently with sentences imposed for other matters in court last week.
The court heard that on June 6 last year, the defendant punched a Praxis support worker in the face while they were at her home.
The worker had been cleaning dishes and was on the phone to the office, who were checking if she was OK. The defendant came over and punched her, stating “are you calling me a liar?”
This was witnessed by another staff worker, and both workers then left the house and reported the incident to police.
The defendant was interviewed and no comment was made.
A defence solicitor told the court that his client has a “complicated mental health background”.
He explained that McKey had had an interaction with the member of staff and told everybody that she had assaulted that member of staff. When the member of staff told everybody that wasn’t the case, she then went in and assaulted her.
He added: “It’s sort of strange behaviour and this young lady has been hospitalised for almost a year at one stage due to these concerns.”
The defence told court that after a few cases later in the week, it would be the first time in a long time she would have no cases pending.
“She’s got a lot of time now obviously to reflect on things and to sort herself out.”
District Judge Anne Marshall commented: “It’s a serious matter to assault a member of Praxis staff, so a custodial sentence is justified.”
District Judge Marshall sentenced McKey to four months in custody, to run concurrently with her current sentence.
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