Woman accused of ‘sectarian inspired attack’ in The Diamond

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A thirty-seven-year-old woman has appeared at Bishop Street Courthouse accused of what was described as a ‘sectarian inspired attack’ in Londonderry city centre.

Gwyneth Victoria Doherty, of Magazine Street, is charged with assaulting two women on November 28.

Londonderry Magistrates’ Court heard allegations that the two complainants were out shopping and were walking towards The Diamond when they were approached by the 37-year-old.

The Court heard that the incident then took on a sectarian nature.

Doherty allegedly became ‘aggressive’ and began shouting ‘orange b*******’ at the women.

It is alleged Doherty began swinging a plastic bag she was carrying, hitting one of the women on the arm.

She also allegedly chased both women around a parked car throwing her fists towards them.

One of the women was struck on the finger and broke a nail.

Doherty is then accused of punching the same woman to the face and knocking off her glasses.

The incident was characterised by sectarianism throughout its duration, Londonderry Magistrates’ Court was told.

It is alleged, for example, that the defendant had shouted ‘orange b*******’ at the two complainants up to 15 times during the incident.

Londonderry Magistrates’ Court heard that the assault was ‘completely unprovoked’ and that both of the women were ‘highly distressed’ as a result of the incident.

During interview with officers of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Doherty claimed she had ‘decided to get herself arrested’ and assaulted the women.

Opposing bail, an investigating officer claimed that the attack had been ‘completely random’ and that the police have fears for the safety of members of the public.

She added that the 37-year-old had told police she would have attacked anyone including a child to get herself arrested.

The Court was told that the defendant needed assistance to overcome problems.

Defence solicitor Paddy Kelly said his client has a number of difficulties and ‘desperately, desperately needs help’.

District Judge Barney McElholm said that this was ‘yet another example of the need for a specialised institution for people to get help’.

However, the Londonderry District Judge went on to explain to the Court that his primary duty was to protect members of the general public from danger and harm.

The local District Judge therefore remanded Doherty in custody until next Monday to allow for her to be psychologically assessed.

She will appear at Bishop Street on December 7.