A 42 year old man, who plead guilty to the common assault of his step daughter on March 22 of this year, was told that he should be leaving the court “hanging his head in shame.”

James Gallagher, High Street Newtowbutler, was given a five-month sentence, suspended for three years, at Enniskillen Magistrates Court this week.

The court heard how he called his step daughter, Nadine Gallagher, “a tramp” and a “fat bastard” before saying she was “no daughter of mine”. Gallagher then proceeded to make several attempts to hit the injured party before finally connecting with a punch that cut Ms Gallagher and saw her fall to the ground.

Defending barrister, Ciaran Roddy, revealed that the defendant had accepted the allegations before him and that his actions were “clearly inexcusable” and that this had been a “cowardly assault, particularly given the defendant was considerably bigger and stronger than the injured party.”

The public prosecutor revealed to the court that Ms Gallagher had received a phone call from her younger sister to say that their mother and step father were arguing at the formers home. Ms Gallagher travelled by car to her mother’s home and succeeded in getting her mother to come out side.

The court heard that it was at this stage that an argument ensued between the defendant and the injured party with Gallagher hurling abuse at his step daughter. Ms Gallagher, who was standing inside the open door of her car, was then assaulted, with her mother stepping between her daughter and the defendant after her daughter had been knocked to the ground.

It was revealed that Ms Gallagher had suffered a cut to her ear because of the attack.

Mr Roddy on behalf of his client stated:

“When the injured party arrived tempers flared,” and that the defendant had “unfortunately reverted to using force.”

Mr Roddy said that there had been no further incidents since March and that this had been the defendants first offence of a “domestic nature”.

On passing sentence Deputy District Judge Trevor Browne said that it was “a particularly appalling offence”.

“This attack took place on someone who should have looked at you as a protector.”

Mr Browne went on to say that Ms Gallagher had “tried to diffuse a difficult situation but what she got was an unprovoked assault.”

The Judge went on to say that Ms Gallagher had “stood up to a bully” and that she came out of the incident with “great credit.”

Imposing a five-month sentence, suspended for three years, Mr Browne told Gallagher that he should be “leaving the court hanging his head in shame.”