A charity shop worker called a couple “gypsy b*****ds” and tried to attack them because she thought they were stealing her electricity, a court heard today.
Ballymena woman Sinead Erwin was given a suspended sentence at Belfast Magistrates’ Court after admitting two counts of assault on the Bulgarian man and woman .
A prosecution lawyer told the court that police in Ballymena received a report of a racially motivated attack on May 11.
They spoke to the injured parties who said they were at home when their neighbour started banging on the front door.
When they answered Erwin claimed they had been stealing her electricity and demanded they pay her £100.
They said Erwin (48) also called them “gypsies”, “dirty gypsies” and “gypsy b*****ds” and their children were left crying as a result of the incident.
Her solicitor Stewart Ballentine said she thought her electricity was being stolen and went to seek compensation.
He said she admitted gesticulating at them but never intended to hit them, being a woman of “only five foot in height” and that the charges were “technical assault”.
Mr Ballentine added that she takes medication for schizophrenia and works in a local clothing bank and had never been in court before with the only entry on her record being a motoring offence.
District Judge George Conner described her behaviour as “totally irrational” and that she went about the matter in the “completely wrong way”.
Erwin, of Bridge Street in Ballymena, was given a sentence of two months in prison, suspended for 12 months.