Portadown woman jailed after attacking other female in town centre

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A 21-year-old woman who carried out an ‘utterly disgraceful’ attack on another young woman in Portadown town centre was sentenced to eight months in prison last Friday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

Danielle Donaldson, North Street, Portadown, admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and disorderly behaviour on July 21 last year.

For the assault charge she was jailed for five months while a concurrent one month term was imposed for the second offence.

For assault on police on September 11 last year she was given three months in custody and a concurrent one month term was imposed for disorderly behaviour on August 31.

The terms for the offences on September 11 and August 31 are to run consecutively to the July 21 offences making a total of eight months in custody.

CCTV was shown in last Friday’s court of the assault on July 21 which took place in High Street at 9.45pm.

Donaldson is seen arguing with another young woman and then assaulting her by grabbing her by the hair and swinging her around. Both ended up on the ground.

When police arrive they speak to the defendant who continued to shout and at one stage she tried to push past an officer which was the basis of the disorderly behaviour charge. On September 11 police were called to a domestic dispute at 12.30am and Donaldson was arrested and taken to Lurgan custody suite. She was verbally and physically aggressive towards police and was placed in a cell. She tried to leave the cell and struck a constable on the head.

Throughout the night she was aggressive and as well as kicking out at a constable she also tried to bite him.

On August 31 at 1.30am police were in West Street on public order duty when Donaldson recognised one of the neighbourhood officers and began to speak to him.

Her ex-partner came along and tried to coax her away but she told him to go away. He continued to talk to her and she lunged forward, striking him with her head on the side of his face.

District Judge, Mr Mervyn Bates, said she had previously received community service and on October last year had received a custodial sentence which had been suspended on appeal.

A barrister representing Donaldson said the events shown on CCTV had been listed as a contest but on the day she accepted the assault charge. Judge Bates said what happened was “absolutely and utterly disgraceful”.

The lawyer said that when his client saw the CCTV she was “thoroughly ashamed” and the victim had been a friend. She was under the influence of alcohol when she engaged in this fight in the street.

He added Donaldson was a young lady with significant difficulties in her life and had been using alcohol as a crutch.

She had found steady employment for the first time, he said, and had been working for six months. She had also divorced herself from her ex-partner who was a negative influence on her and cut down on her alcohol use. The lawyer said there had been nothing else from November when she was put to the test by the appeal court and she had passed this with flying colours. Judge Bates said the video footage threw into sharp focus how bad Donaldson’s behaviour was and how serious the assault was. He added that a short time later she was involved in the other offences. The judge said this was a “beacon of bad behaviour’ and must be punished ‘by immediate custody in my view”. Later in the court he fixed bail of £400 for Donaldson to appeal against the sentence and she was released from custody, pending the appeal.

Conditions of the bail are that she is not to be under the influence of alcohol in public and a curfew from 11pm to 7am unless she is working.