Jailed for kicking and spitting at gardaí after claiming she had the virus

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A Dublin woman who told gardaí she “had the virus”, kicking and spitting on them as they struggled to take her into custody has been jailed for five months.

Erika Gould (36), of Kilmacud Road Lower, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault on three gardaí in Dundrum, Dublin, on June 1, 2020. She has 118 previous convictions.

Detective Sergeant Barry O’Connor told the court he and another detective were in Dundrum Garda Station that day when they heard a traffic cone being thrown into the station car park.

Det Sgt O’Connor said they saw a woman with blonde hair and wearing white shorts leaving the scene and found a suspect matching that description nearby on Dundrum Main Street.

“She threw a full bottle of wine at gardaí, narrowly missing a patrol car and leaving glass smashed on the road,” he said.

Sergeant Niall Kennedy arrived with a van to take her into custody, but as they attempted to restrain her she spat at him.

The court heard the spit landed on the right-hand side of his forehead, narrowly missing his eye.

She continued to spit and kick as she was put in the back of the van and when she was brought to the custody area of Dundrum Garda Station, where Garda Brian Hennessy was spat on and kicked in the stomach.

The officers were not able to mask her with a spit hood because of how she was lashing out, Det Sgt O’Connor said.

She became calmer after she was placed in a cell, but when Sergeant Kennedy loosened one of her handcuffs she began to struggle again.

The court heard that’s when she said she “had the virus” and turned her face towards the officers in an attempt to spit on them.

When one of them was hit, she shouted: “Hah! I got you.”

In a statement, Sergeant Kennedy said Gould called him a “prick” and a “fucking arsehole”.

He described seeing her “hack in her throat to bring up spit” and feeling “a large amount of spit hitting him in the forearm”.

She was examined by a doctor around an hour later and told him she was not ill.

“Miss Gould offers an unreserved apology to all three gardaí who suffered as a result of this,” said Cathal McGreal BL, defending.

“Every small town and every locality has someone who acts out when they’ve had drink. Erika Gould is that person.”

But he said this incident had been a “turning point” for her, and that she had abstained from drink for the last five months.

“She hasn’t come before the court with a sobriety of this period – that is significant.”

Det Sgt O’Connor confirmed she had not come to garda attention since.

Her childhood had been “very disruptive,” Mr McGreal said, adding that she had had suffered from depression since the age of 17.

He said Gould “doesn’t recall” much of what happened, but accepts responsibility and is “appalled and ashamed at her own behaviour” and by the media attention it’s drawn.

Judge Martin Nolan said “many pleas have been made on her behalf, according to her record. She has been given many chances.”

“I’ll be as lenient as I can,” he said.

Judge Nolan ordered a term of imprisonment of 18 months for the assault on Garda Hennessy, with the other charges taken into account.

“With hope rather than expectation of rehabilitation, I’m going to suspend all but five months,” he added.

He ordered a year’s supervision by the Probation Service, and granted an extension to legal aid to allow for an appeal.

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