A judge has described the actions of a 20-year old woman during an assault as “appalling, animalistic behaviour”.

Gemma Elizabeth Johnston with an address of Featherbed Glade, Enniskillen was sentenced to seven month in prison, suspended for two years following the incident at a property in Coolcullen Meadow in the town on November 10, 2018 to which she pleaded guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, resisting police and possession of a Class A drug.

The Court heard at around 7.25am on the date in question, police were called to an address in Coolcullen Meadow to the reports of an assault. They were met by a female and a male known to them appeared at the door of the property and let them in. They spoke to the female victim who told them the people who assaulted her were known to her. She identified the defendant.

The injured party had gone to the address in Coolcullen Meadow, which was the home of the defendant’s mother’s ex-husband. She went into the living room and the ex-wife was present. Johnston arrived, came into the room and started to attack the injured party. She dragged her across the room, punching her and biting her. The injured party told the police there was no provocation for this attack.

A male came down the stairs and tried to settle it. The injured party had a red face and cheeks, lacerations and was bleeding.

The 20 year old was arrested and became abusive to officers and kicked out at the passenger door of the police vehicle saying: “I don’t give two f**ks about.”

She was taken to Omagh custody suite and during a search white powder was discovered in her jacket pocket. Tests confirmed the substance to be cocaine.

Defending barrister Ciaran Roddy told the court it was a “very nasty incident” with the the bite being the most significant aggravating feature and said his client’s liberty was at stake.

He said it was clear alcohol was a feature and to make matters worse and to compound her misery, she resisted arrest and was in possession of a Class A drug.

Mr. Roddy continued by saying the best thing that could be said was his client had accepted responsibility and entered a guilty plea at an early stage.

Mr. Roddy said Johnston, who was on probation at the time of the incident, has shown some insight into her behaviour and the root cause of it and although many of the issues were not of her own making, being before the court was her own fault. He pointed out that she came before the court a more settled individual and that she accepted it was a serious assault.

District Judge Michael Ranaghan said the assault on the injured party was “disgusting” and the bite to the nose was the “act of an animal and not a human being”.

He sentenced Johnston to seven months imprisonment and was considering immediate custody. He ordered Johnston be taken to the cells so he could reflect on whether or not to impose immediate custody.

A short time later, Mr. Roddy was given another chance of persuading Judge Ranaghan of not imposing immediate custody.

Mr. Roddy said his client had learned from the incident, it was first time she appeared before the court for a serious assault of this nature. He again pointed out that Johnston had appeared to have turned a corner and had been in quite a dark place at the time of the incident.

It was enough to persuade Judge Ranaghan as he suspended the sentence for two years and ordered Johnston to pay £400 in compensation to the injured party telling her she was very lucky she had not gone to prison.