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wacky races 'Brawling woman' kicked policeman in head forcing him to swerve across two traffic lanes

Melissa McDonald was already in trouble with the police after assaulting four women and police

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Melissa McDonagh

Melissa McDonagh

Melissa McDonagh

This is the boozed-up brawler who kicked a cop who was driving at 70mph in the head forcing him to swerve across two lanes of traffic.

Melissa McDonagh was already in serious trouble with the police before her wacky races stunt, having just been arrested for assaulting four women and several officers.

In fact the pint-sized pugilist had also kicked and bit her way into bother during the rampaging episode which was blamed on a "mental health crisis".

She had entered guilty pleas to a total of 13 offences including four common assault, four of assaulting police, two criminal damage and single counts of attempted criminal damage, resisting police and using disorderly behaviour.

The 26-year-old managed to avoid going to prison after it emerged she had a completely clean criminal record until this event.

McDonagh appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court last week and her address was given as Glenville Park, Newtownabbey.

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Melissa McDonagh

Melissa McDonagh

Melissa McDonagh

However, when we called to confront her it emerged she hadn't lived there for several months and another woman was living at the flat.

Locals in the estate told the Sunday World they were glad to see the back of McDonagh.

"She's long gone from here and there's a nice Polish girl living in her flat now," said one local.

"She'll not be missed. There was a a lot of bother when she lived here, lots of noise late at night."

A prosecutor explained that McDonagh had been arrested for a series of assaults and was handcuffed in the back of the police car on her way to custody on September 5 last year when she decided to boot the unsuspecting driver in the head.

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A prosecuting lawyer told the court that when McDonagh got to the police station, she attacked other officers and then refused to answer police questions.

Handcuffed and put into the rear of a police car, McDonagh "kicked the driver in the head", causing him to swerve across two lanes of traffic.

When asked by District Judge Nigel Broderick how fast the car was going at the time, the lawyer said "around 70 mph".

The court was told police had earlier that day been called to a house in Chichester Park Central in Ballymena after a drunk McDonagh "forced her way in" and grabbed her first victim by the face and hair.

She then proceeded to trail her into the garden where she continued to kick and punch the victim, biting her on the leg.

The victim's friends went to help and tried to intervene but McDonagh assaulted them as well, kicking a car and damaging a vase in the process.

When cops arrived and tried to arrest her, McDonagh struggled violently and lashed out at them, biting a constable on the arm and hitting another in the stomach.

Defence counsel Stephen Law said McDonagh had been going through a "pure mental crisis" at the time and had been "self-medicating" with alcohol, adding that since the "alarming" incidents, she had shown what he submitted was genuine remorse.

Arguing that probation could help and support McDonagh whom he described as "level-headed" in sobriety, the experienced barrister told the court "it's going to take some time to put this young lady back together".

Ordering McDonagh to complete a year on probation, Judge Broderick said the "only surprising thing among this catalogue of appalling behaviour is that you have a completely clear record... if there had been any convictions I would had little hesitation" in jailing her.

The judge told McDonagh: "This has been a very finely balanced sentencing exercise so if you fail to comply or reoffend I will have little hesitation in sending you to prison".

Imposing the 12-month probation order, the judge told McDonagh she "could easily have caused an accident that could have caused serious, if not fatal, injuries."

steven.moore@sundayworld.com

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