court hearing | 

Man (27) accused of ‘vicious’ assault on social media influencer Charleen Murphy in Dublin

Craig O'Brien (27) with an address at Thomond Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin, was arrested and charged with assault causing harm to Ms Murphy at the Grafton Capital Hotel

Craig O'Brien

Charleen Murphy

Charleen Murphy

Tom TuiteSunday World

A man has been accused of "viciously" attacking popular social media influencer Charleen Murphy who was injured as she had dinner at a lounge in Dublin following alleged online abuse.

Craig O'Brien (27) with an address at Thomond Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin, was arrested and charged with assault causing harm to Ms Murphy at the Grafton Capital Hotel, on Stephen Street Lower, on Friday night after she blocked him online.

Ms Murphy, who has a large online presence of 188,000 followers on Instagram and 145,000 on TikTok, regularly creates content on beauty and fashion.

The incident occurred after she had posted about her night out.

Mr O'Brien was held pending his appearance at Dublin District Court on Saturday when Judge Paula Murphy remanded him in custody.

Strenuously objecting to bail, Garda Stephen McDonnell cited the seriousness of the incident and fears the accused would leave the jurisdiction.

He told the court that it was alleged Ms Murphy had been socialising with a friend in the hotel lounge on Friday when a male entered and "viciously attacked" and injured her.

Charleen Murphy

The contested bail hearing was told the man was "someone known to her and her friend through personal online abuse on various social media accounts".

It was alleged that the accused entered the premises, paid for a drink at 9.30pm with his Visa card, and attacked her a minute later.

The court heard he allegedly approached Ms Murphy, who was having dinner with her friend from behind, and "punched her full force to the back of the head".

The court heard her head rebounded off the glass she was drinking, resulting in a laceration of her face.

It was claimed she and her friend recognised him from "previous online abuse" and that afterwards he sent her a voice message via social media saying, "How's the head?".

The court heard she went to St James's Hospital and left A&E at 5am.

The social media star had a two-inch laceration to the right side of her face near her hairline and received stitches". But she came to court to give evidence at the bail hearing.

Garda McDonnell said the injured party played for him threatening voices messages she received through social media. The court heard she had blocked him but he allegedly continued to create fake accounts to follow and contact her.

Gardai searched his residence and seized clothing as evidence.

The accused came to Pearse Street Garda station later to be interviewed. Garda McDonnell maintained that the accused indicated that he intended to leave the country.

Cross-examined by defence solicitor Aoife McNicholl, he accepted that the accused contacted gardai, but the officer said he had changed his clothes.

The judge was told that the accused suffered from anxiety and depression.

The assault charge can carry a maximum sentence of five years. The accused, who spoke only to give instructions to his solicitor, has not yet indicted a plea.

CCTV footage was played during the bail hearing showing Ms Murphy sitting at a table before being punched from behind and blood pouring from her head afterwards.

She gave evidence during the bail hearing and explained she was a social media influencer and had posted where she was online.

The court heard she had blocked the accused and "I've never seen him in real life before."

The defence pleaded with the court to grant bail with conditions including a social media ban. The solicitor pointed out that her client had presented himself at a garda station which was not indicative of someone who would evade justice.

She added that Mr O'Brien had strong ties to the jurisdiction; he was looking after his mother and was receiving a €200 a week carer's allowance.

In her ruling, Judge Murphy stressed that this was not the hearing of the case but a bail application, and the accused had the presumption of innocence.

She had considered the proposal for conditions; however, she refused bail.

Legal aid was granted to the accused, who was remanded in custody to appear at Cloverhill District Court on February 17 next.

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