Belfast Telegraph

Serial thug Cathal Feeney charged with attack on female taxi driver

By George Jackson

A "high risk offender" with a long record of assaulting women has been refused bail after he was charged with a vicious and unprovoked attack on a female taxi driver.

Londonderry Magistrates Court heard that Cathal Feeney (28) has 63 previous convictions and has eight non-molestation orders granted against him, including one from his own grandmother.

Feeney appeared in court again yesterday after a 58-year-old woman was attacked in her taxi on Sunday. Feeney, who is originally from Eglinton but has an address at Meelmore Drive in Omagh, denies assault.

A police officer told District Judge Barney McElholm that many of the defendant's previous convictions were for crimes against women. Feeney was released on licence from prison on December 18 of this year but has already breached four of his licence conditions, she said.

"Eight women have been granted non-molestation orders against him, including his grandmother," she added.

The police witness said the taxi driver collected Feeney from outside Altnagelvin Hospital's accident and emergency department at 4am on Sunday.

She drove him to Eglinton and then on to his aunt's home at Tamnaherin on the outskirts of Derry, but on both occasions he refused to get out.

"He again asked to be taken to Eglinton but the driver refused and lifted her phone to call the police. The defendant then lashed out at her and rained a flurry of punches to the left side of her face, hitting her 10 times," the officer said. She described it as "a vicious and unprovoked assault on a vulnerable woman".

The court heard the woman eventually drove to Waterside police station. Feeney got out and walked to a nearby Tesco car park, where he was arrested.

The shaken taxi driver had no broken bones but had multiple bruises on her face which was badly swollen. The officer said Feeney said she was already bruised when he got into the taxi and he denied any altercation had taken place.

But Mr McElholm said Feeney's version of events was "a fairy tale" and remanded him in custody until January 22.

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