Andrew Scannell, 63, grabbed inspector Maria Wall by the hair, threw her on the ground and slapped her face a number of times while shouting at her to get off his property
Andrew Scannell, 63, grabbed inspector Maria Wall by the hair, threw her on the ground and slapped her face a number of times while shouting at her to get off his property when she arrived to carry out an inspection on October 2 last year.
The bachelor famer from Lackaneen, Lissacreasig, near Macroom, pleaded guilty to carrying out the shocking attack but bizarrely told the Sunday World he didn’t carry out the assault while he was awaiting sentence earlier this year.
Despite his false claims in our interview, he accepted guilt over the attack when he appeared before Cork Circuit Court for sentencing.
He received a sentence one year and six months which was suspended in full. He also paid €1,000 in compensation to his victim.
The case had been adjourned over the summer as he didn’t have the compensation ready when he arrived in court but said he would have it available.
While awaiting sentence Scannell told the Sunday World he was not a violent man despite leaving his victim covered in bruises and needing counselling.
“I didn’t assault her. I didn’t tell her to get out at all. I just told her ‘look, please leave’. I didn’t force her either. I just escorted her down the road and opened the gate and told her to go.”
He spent a number of days in prison on remand in February after Judge Helen Boyle said: “I am not entirely convinced this man does not need to learn a lesson about attacking people going about their job.”
Cork Circuit Court heard that Inspector Wall visited his farm in July last year and found Scannell’s cattle crush needed to be repaired. She returned on October 2 to check the work had been done.
Garda Raymond Griffin said: “Insp Wall knocked on the door of the house. She then proceeded to the cattle-crush and found that it was still broken. Mr Scannell arrived at the scene and Ms Wall engaged in some small talk with him. She then informed him she was there to inspect the cattle-crush" Garda Griffin told the court.
“He lunged at her. He caught her by the hair and threw her on the ground and slapped her across the face a number of times shouting, ‘Get out’, and shouting that she was out to get him.
“The whole assault lasted approximately half a minute. Mr Scannell then said, ‘Get off the farm and don’t come back. You have no right to be here’.
She was left with a number of injuries including bruising go the right side of her face, her back and hip and is still receiving counselling over the attack.
Scannell tried to dismiss the attack completely when we visited his farm in March.
“It’s a nonsensical case. It’s overrated. I didn’t assault her. She had been outside my house previously.
“It was a nonsensical thing. You’d think I had robbed an old lady which I wouldn’t do or beat up a woman which is what they say but that is not true. It’s a little bit overrated all this.”
When we put it to him that it was bizarre that he was claiming he didn’t carry out the assault after already pleading guilty, he claimed he did so because he felt sick when he was arrested and wanted to leave the garda station.
“I didn’t plead guilty but under duress I did when I was in a cell. I think that I was right to plead guilty because I was sick.”
He said he was subsequently diagnosed with pneumonia and received treatment.
Despite his claims that he admitted to the attack because he was ill, he did not change his plea when he appeared in court and even offered up compensation to his victim.
He told the Sunday World he believes the case was being given too much attention.
“With this case they’re trying to hype it up ridiculously high.
“You see because you’re against the department they’re going to make it bigger than [it is].”
Scannell spent six days in Cork Prison on remand before being released on bail earlier this year.
He told the Sunday World he didn’t enjoy the experience but was treated well and spent his time in isolation.
“I don’t think anyone likes [being in prison].
“I was treated well. I thought it was going to be four days but when the four days were up, I was in for two more days.
“I found it alright. I found nothing wrong. I was in isolation and they asked me if I had Covid and if I had tendency to suicide and all this.
Cork farmer behind vicious attack on female vet claims he's not a violent man
“I had my own kit with my own cup of tea. I was treated well and I treated them well.”
Scannell who lives alone said he has had issue with is cattle being stolen and reported it to the department and gardai.
He also said people have broken into his house which has left him fearful. His brother died suddenly a number of years ago and he lives alone. he said he has shouted at people on his land previously.
“I roar at fellas and all that.”
He said he has never fired any shots at trespassers.
“I wouldn’t go that far. I wouldn’t fire a shot over someone. I don’t want blood on my hands.
“I wouldn’t want blood on my hands at all. I might threaten to wallop them and do this and do that but I wouldn’t do it.
“There’s no point in that but it might solve a few things.
“I’m not strict on land. I’ve seen people walking around the yard and I never said anything to them, they didn’t take anything. I missed money and things and I said nothing. We all like to brush things under the table and not be bothering.”
He said he is a very rural man and has only been to Dublin once.
“I was only up there once on business about two years ago. I went to deal with a land issue. I found it okay. I had fun. I expected it to be bigger you know. I never go to Dublin. I never go anywhere you see with being a rural farmer.”
He said that he planned to carry out the repairs needed on his farm.