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'moment of madness' 'Protective' mum who hit daughter's ex on head and chased him with a hammer in avoids jail

Known locally as Liz, the Drumbeg mum is extremely well known for helping people in the community and is highly respected – making the hammer horror incident even more surprising

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Elizabeth Avery escaped a prison term

Elizabeth Avery escaped a prison term

Elizabeth Avery escaped a prison term

A 'protective' mum who chased her daughter's ex with a hammer before smacking him on the head says it was a "moment of madness".

Popular Craigavon woman Elizabeth Avery narrowly avoided going to jail last week after she pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon in a public place, criminal damage and common assault.

The 55-year-old went berserk with Lurgan man Shea Reynolds who had been in a relationship with Avery’s daughter.

Last night Avery told the Sunday World something had happened just before her uncharacteristic attack on Reynolds.

“Let’s just say there had been an incident a month before, but I don’t want to go into details,” she explained.

“It was a moment of madness, I shouldn’t have done it and I’m glad the case is all over.”

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Shea Reynolds was attacked

Shea Reynolds was attacked

Shea Reynolds was attacked

Known locally as Liz, the Drumbeg mum is extremely well known for helping people in the community and is highly respected – making the hammer horror incident even more surprising.

During sentencing, the judge referred to Avery having led a “blameless life” and accepted the incident had been “out of character”.

Craigavon Magistrates Court heard last week how Avery was spared prison on the submissions of her defence counsel and what Deputy District Judge Laura Ievers described as a “very positive” pre-sentence report.

A prosecution solicitor told the court that on Saturday, April 24, the injured party had alleged Avery – his ex-partner’s mother – approached him with a hammer at Limefield Rise in Craigavon.

Shea Reynolds told police that he was chased around his parked car before being struck with the hammer to the head and also that his vehicle was damaged during the incident. However, he did not sustain any serious injuries, the court was told.

Reynolds recorded the incident on a mobile phone.

The defendant attended Lurgan police station where she made no comment to all questions during interviews.

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Defence solicitor Conor Lunny told the court that his client’s behaviour was “completely out of character” and that she has never come to police attention before.

“It’s safe to say there had been a previous incident which involved the injured party,” said Mr Lunny.

“Ms Avery, being protective of her daughter, took the foolhardy and completely out of character decision to arm herself with a hammer and chase him around the car and indeed damage that car, much like a teenager would, or a child.

“It was dangerous behaviour and she accepts that. And it was probably inadvisable to conduct a no-comment interview, but can I ask she is given full credit for the way she has met matters when charges were settled.”

He added: “This relationship has ceased, thankfully for everyone involved, and this gentleman will be nowhere near the Averys, or indeed her daughter, in the near, or I hope, in the extended future.”

In passing sentence, Judge Ievers, said: “At first blink, when I heard the background to the case, my instinct was that only a custodial sentence could be entertained, but I have had the chance to hear from Mr Lunny and I have had the opportunity to consider the very positive pre-sentence report.

“I don’t feel that because a weapon was used, and because the factual background is so very serious, that I could deal by way of a conditional discharge, but I recognise that this is the first blemish in an otherwise blameless life and it does strike as being out of character.”

Avery was handed a six-month probation order.

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