Northern Ireland

Woman 'broke town ban to hit former lover'

A Belfast woman travelled 30 miles in a taxi to assault her former lesbian partner, the High Court has heard.

Patricia Murphy, 48, allegedly broke a ban on entering Newcastle, County Down, to find the woman with whom she had been in a 24-year relationship.

Ms Murphy, of University Street, hired the taxi but had no money to pay for the trip, the court heard.

Refusing bail, the judge said: "She does not realise she has to abide by court orders."

She was charged with criminal damage, assault, disorderly behaviour, breach of a non-molestation order and obtaining services by deception.

A prosecution lawyer said police were called on 8 August to a flat in Newcastle where her former partner was staying.

It was claimed that after she was told she was not welcome, she struck out at the woman with the palm of her hand.

The accused is also alleged to have urinated in a cell after she was taken into police custody.

Her defence solicitor described Ms Murphy as a chronic alcoholic who was in a long-term relationship with the alleged victim.

He told the court she denied any physical assault, saying the woman had asked Ms Murphy to come to Newcastle and offered to pay for the cost of the taxi.

He said it was disputed whether the relationship was over, and said Ms Murphy's partner had now formed a new relationship.

"It seems (she) is going out with both these ladies at the same time," he told the court.

Mr Justice Hart refused bail, and questioned whether any form of restraint would be effective.