A former prison officer has been given a suspended jail term for “humiliating” a female friend by dragging her off a pub dance floor by the hair.
Thomas Kavanagh (57), who was also formerly in the army, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court last Monday and admitted assaulting the woman at a bar in Castlerock during an incident on Sunday July 31.
The court heard Kavanagh, from Castleland Hill in Rosyth near Dunfermline in Scotland, has been travelling to Northern Ireland for seven years to visit the Belfast woman and they were on a holiday break at a caravan in Castlerock before going to Bertha’s Bar. A prosecutor said eye-witnesses saw Kavanagh dragging the woman by the hair off the dance floor and onto the ground whilst calling her names and customers had to intervene.
Kavanagh told police he had a drink problem and claimed that as he was taking the woman from the dance floor his leg gave way because of health difficulties causing him to fall to the ground and the lady was taken down with him. Defence solicitor Briege Martin said Kavanagh has been coming to Northern Ireland for seven years to visit the woman in Belfast and they had travelled to Castlerock for a seaside caravan holiday.
She said her client’s instructions were that he had pulled the woman to get her to leave the pub and while reaching for her shoulder he accidentally pulled her hair.
The solictor said “remorseful” Kavanagh was originally due to have returned to Scotland on Friday August 5 where he has been seeing a psychologist in relation to his mental health.
Imposing a four months prison term, suspended for two years and ordering the defendant to pay £100 compensation to the woman, District Judge Liam McNally told Kavanagh: “This was not only a painful incident but a humiliating one were you dragged her by the hair off the dance floor”.