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Night porter attacked wife and her son in family home

A hotel night porter punched his stepson in the face and caused bruising to his wife after grabbing her by the wrist during a violent incident at their home in An Cheathrú Rua.

Anwar Harrath (45), originally from Tunisia and living in Fairgreen Hostel Galway City for almost two years, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to his German stepson Yousef Bakhchali, and minor assault of his now ex-wife from Conamara, Lucy Barrett.

Derrynea District Court heard the couple were married for 13 years but have since separated arising from the incident investigated by Garda Stephen Griffin that occurred around 9.30pm on October 19 2021 at Carraroe Holiday Cottages.

Ms Barrett, in a victim impact statement, said she still had trouble sleeping, and was “traumatised” by the assault.

She said that she had blocked the defendant after he tried to contact her by phone, on the most recent occasion last November, something which Judge Mary Fahy described as “serious breach of bail” conditions.

Her son, a mechanic, said that he too has trouble sleeping, and is nervous in town for fear he would meet Harrath. “I don’t feel safe,” he said.

Barrister Ernie Whyte, defending, said his client was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and a few days prior to the incident had stopped taking his medication.

On the night, he said his client was in bed, and heard noises in the living room of an argument between his wife and her son.

Mr Whyte said that Harrath believed that his stepson was a stranger and he punched him.

When his wife then tried to leave, he grabbed her by the wrist, which caused bruising, he said.

Days after the incident he was admitted to the Psychiatric Unit of University Hospital Galway and has engaged with the adult mental health services since, including taking medication.

Harrath had been working as a night porter in a hotel in Salthill for five years prior to this and has since found employment as a night porter in Galway.

Mr Whyte said he was still employed and had been living at the Fairgreen Hostel for almost two years.

Judge Fahy said the defendant had serious mental health issues, which were treatable if he continued to take medication and engage with the mental health services.

She imposed a total of twelve months in prison, suspended for two years, on his own bond of €200, on condition he stay away from the injured parties, not contact them directly or indirectly, including on social media, and be of good behaviour.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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