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Guilty plea Mum who assaulted homeless man, wrongly believing he raped her sister, may escape prison

Zara McCabe’s victim died by suicide a week later

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Zara McCabe (34), of Brookview Drive, Tallaght, Dublin 24, leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where she pleaded guilty to assault causing harm on Fleet Street, Dublin 2 on November 4, 2020. PIC: Collins Courts

Zara McCabe (34), of Brookview Drive, Tallaght, Dublin 24, leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where she pleaded guilty to assault causing harm on Fleet Street, Dublin 2 on November 4, 2020. PIC: Collins Courts

Zara McCabe (34), of Brookview Drive, Tallaght, Dublin 24, leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where she pleaded guilty to assault causing harm on Fleet Street, Dublin 2 on November 4, 2020. PIC: Collins Courts

A woman who assaulted a homeless man, who later took his own life, because she wrongly believed he had raped her sister may be asked to carry out community service in lieu of a prison sentence.

Zara McCabe (34) of Brookview Drive, Tallaght, Dublin 24, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm on Fleet Street, Dublin 2 on November 4, 2020.

She has 21 previous convictions including assault, threats, intoxication in a public place and road traffic offences.

The court heard there was no medical report in relation to the victim, as although he was taken to hospital by ambulance, he didn’t sign a consent form to release his medical report and discharged himself the following day.

The victim died by suicide a week later.

It was accepted that McCabe, a mother of five, was highly intoxicated and in poor mental health on the night and wrongly believed that the man had raped her sister.

McCabe later said that she went through the victim’s pockets after the assault because she was trying to find his phone to take a photo of him to show her sister.

Judge Martin Nolan adjourned the case to allow for McCabe to be assessed by the Probation Service to determine if she is suitable for community service. He said if found suitable he would order that she carry out 150 hours community service in lieu of a two-year prison term.

“You are getting a considerable chance,” Judge Nolan told McCabe.

“What you did on the night was disgraceful to this poor man. If you re-offend you will go to jail, simple as that. It was totally wrong. He had a tough enough life without you attacking him,” the judge said.

Judge Nolan said it was not clear what injuries the man sustained but it seems he had cuts to his body.

“He was taken to hospital and didn’t stay long. This poor man had an unfortunate life and an unfortunate end,” the judge said.

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He said McCabe had wrongly thought this man had raped her sister which he said was “more based on her condition than the objective facts of the situation”, before he acknowledged that she was drunk and had probably taken drugs.

He acknowledged that she had a record of conviction and long-standing alcohol and addictive problems.

He said McCabe had a “very unfortunate family life” before he noted that her children are in care and she has been subjected to other forms of abuse over the years.

Judge Nolan acknowledged that McCabe is “on an upward curve at the moment” and has secured work in a warehouse since last November before he remanded her on continuing bail, pending the report from the Probation Service, to June 27 next.

If you have been affected by this story, you can contact Samaritans on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.ie

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