A prominent Northern Ireland businessman has been convicted of a baseball bat attack on a policeman who was caught wearing only his underpants hiding in his brother’s luxury home.
PSNI constable Alan Morrow was found in the home near Lisburn of his married lover, Thai woman Mena Mulholland, aged 30, and her car dealer husband, Brian Mulholland.
Sunday Life revealed the extraordinary story of adultery, violence and alleged bigamy which has emerged in court hearings.
- A SECRET AFFAIR — between Mena Mulholland and cop Alan Morrow.
- ALLEGED BIGAMY — Mena Mulholland has been charged with bigamy.
- VIOLENCE — Moira businessman Michael Mulholland attacked Morrow outside his brother Brian’s home believing him to be a paedophile intruder.
Father-of-five Michael Mulholland received a suspended jail sentence at Craigavon Crown Court on Friday for assaulting the 44-year-old cop.
Morrow suffered a broken arm and bruises in the attack which happened while he was sitting in his jeep outside Brian and Mena Mulholland’s home.
The police officer spent four months off work recovering from his injuries and sources say he later suffered a nervous breakdown from the stress of his ordeal and the subsequent trial.
Michael Mulholland, 50, said he mistakenly believed Morrow was a paedophile when he attacked him in November 2009.
The court accepted that Mulholland had no idea the PSNI officer had been found earlier that morning by his elderly mother hiding half naked in the bathroom of his brother’s house, having spent the night there.
Michael and his son Michael jnr, both of Leckey Road in Upper Ballinderry, each faced a series of charges relating to the assault on the police officer. Michael Mulholland jnr, 22, was cleared at an earlier Crown Court hearing in June of grievous bodily harm, possessing of an offensive weapon in a public place and criminal damage relating to the attack when the jury decided he had been acting on the instructions of his father.
On Friday, Michael Mulholland snr was sentenced on charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, criminal damage and possessing an offensive weapon, namely a bat, in public.
Handing down a six-month prison sentence, suspended for one year, Judge Desmond Marrinan described Mulholland as “a pillar of society” who “thought he had been protecting his family”.
Outside court after sentencing, Michael Mulholland, supported by his wife and sister, said that the events of that November morning had “devastated his family”.
His sister Marie Perry, 55 from Moira, who had made the frantic call for help to her brother on the morning of the attack, also tearfully said how her close knit family had been torn apart by the trial.
They revealed that their brother Brian, a wealthy car dealer who lives in the Maze, Lisburn, had tried to save his marriage after details of his wife’s affair emerged for the sake of their three young children.
The marriage finally broke down several months later.
In May of this year Chiraphon Mulholland, 30, known to the family as Mena, appeared in court accused of bigamy.
At a hearing in Lisburn Magistrates Court on Thursday she was remanded on continuing bail to appear again in November.
She is accused of marrying Brian Mulholland while still married to an American called John Wilder and of fraudulently obtaining a marriage certificate and passport. She is believed to be denying the charges.
It is understood that her husband was in Thailand staying with Mena’s parents when the events which led to the assault on Constable Morrow unfolded. In an early morning visit to the house, Brian Mulholland’s mother, Helen, then 79, and sister Marie were shocked to find a half naked Alan Morrow hiding in the couple’s en-suite.
Morrow and his lover both left the house after rowing with her in-laws but Morrow returned when Helen Mulholland was alone in the property.
When her daughter Marie returned to collect her mother and discovered Alan Morrow at the door she locked her mother inside the house and drove off to get help.
Michael Mulholland received a phone call from his hysterical sister informing him there was a man at his brother’s house.
Thinking it was a burglar or prowler, Mulholland grabbed a baseball bat and asked his son, Michael to come with him.
On arriving, he found his mother and sister distraught inside the house.
Alan Morrow was locked in his jeep and when Mulholland demanded he explain who he was, the policeman stayed silent.
Mulholland’s sister then told him Morrow had been in the children’s bedroom without his socks on.
An enraged Mulholland, believing the cop was a paedophile smashed the driver’s door of the jeep with the baseball bat.
In a violent assault father and son smashed the back window of the jeep and the passenger window and although cleared of all charges, it was acknowledged in court that a blow by Michael Mulholland junior broke the police officer’s arm.
The officer finally drove off and Mulholland later went with his son to Lurgan police station to report what had taken place.
Sentencing Mulholland, Judge Desmond Marrinan said on watching Mulholland give evidence he
had no doubt that he was a man who obviously cared for his family.
The judge said of Mulholland: “He had brought up a good and respectable family and has built up a good business and is every sense of the word a pillar of society.”
“This situation is not going to happen again in a blue moon.”
Judge Marrinan added: “One has to be sympathetic to Mr Morrow as he was attacked, but by not speaking or responding it became a one-sided assault which built up until it reached a crescendo because Mr Morrow did not identify himself.
“The sister coming out of the house and stating that Mr Morrow had been in the children’s room with no socks on was no doubt the straw which broke the camel’s back.”
Mulholland: I didn’t know who he was
In an exclusive interview with Sunday Life, Mulholland said: “I acted the way I did because I had no idea who he was.
“If I had known he had been in the house earlier then I would have demanded he leave my brother’s premises.
“I had no idea who I was dealing with. At first I thought he was a traveller, then when my sister said he had been in the children’s room with no socks on I honestly thought I was dealing with a paedophile.”
Mulholland, who runs a drive-through restaurant in Moira, revealed that he had misgivings when his wealthy bachelor brother Brian, a motorbike and car dealer, returned from a holiday and told his family he had a Thai girlfriend.
“There was an age gap, she was just in her 20s and he was in his 40s and I had heard all the things about Thai women marrying wealthy men and, I don’t know, but it just didn’t seem right to me, but Brian was besotted by her.”
The couple married a year and a half later and the youngest of their three children — now aged three — was just a couple of months old when Chiraphon, called Mena by the family, started an affair with Alan Morrow.
Michael Mulholland’s sister Marie Perry, 55, from Moira wept as she took up the story:
“We are a very close family and we treated her like one of our own. “
But Mena’s affair had devastated Brian, she said.
Marie said Brian Mulholland bought a holiday home for his new family near his wife’s family in Thailand and allowed her parents to move into it.
He was visiting Thailand to tie up final details on the house when his wife’s affair was discovered by his unsuspecting mum and sister.
Marie said: “Mum went to the bedroom to see the baby who was still in his cot and my son asked Mena if he could use the toilet in her en suite.
“She said no, that it was broken and my mum opened the door to see what was wrong and Alan Morrow was standing in his shirt and pants with no trousers, shoes or socks on. She got a terrible shock.
“Mena said he was a plumber there to fix the toilet, then she said he was an architect and then a policeman.
“There was a terrible commotion and my mum was in a real state.”
Michael Mulholland described his sister’s phone call later that morning when Alan Morrow had returned to the house as “beyond hysterical, she couldn’t get the words out, there was real stress and real fear.”
It was only after he launched his attack on Alan Morrow that Mulholland says his distraught sister and mum finally explained that he had been at the house earlier at Mena’s invitation.
“I realised then that it was bad for me, until that point I thought he was a stranger with no business there at all,” he said.