Northern Ireland news

Criminal psychology student sentenced for 'shameful' assault on woman which was filmed and shared on social media

Danielle McCollum was sentenced for assault

A songwriter doing a degree in criminal psychology has been sentenced for a "shameful" assault on a woman, including headbutting her.

Danielle McCollum (27), formerly from Carnlough but now of Fisherstown in Cargan, Co Antrim, previously pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The incident happened around the time the defendant made headlines about one of her songs being performed at the Capital XTRA Unleashed showcase in London.

A prosecutor said at 3pm on June 5, 2018, the then 23-year-old victim was walking in the Stiles estate in Antrim when three women including McCollum got out of a vehicle.

One of the other women grabbed the victim, before McCollum headbutted her on the nose and began hitting, kicking and pulling her hair "whilst she was attempting to defend herself on the ground".

The two other women joined the attack which was filmed on a mobile phone. The 44-second long clip was shared on social media.

The injured woman was able to "flee the scene" when a taxi arrived.

The court heard one of the other attackers was given probation and a summons had yet to be served on the third woman.

A defence barrister said the footage made "extremely unpleasant viewing" and it had been an "utterly shameful" incident for which McCollum wished to apologise.

He said McCollum had been taking drugs on the day in question and had "very little memory".

He said she was "shocked" when she viewed the footage and was "extremely ashamed" and is now a "very different person"

The barrister added: "The background behind the incident was the injured party was going out with her brother and had said some very unsavoury things in relation to Miss McCollum's brother".

The lawyer said McCollum is doing a criminal psychology degree.

Judge Broderick said: "It appears from the footage that after assaulting, gratuitously, the victim, she then takes the phone and continues filming. I found the mobile phone footage very concerning.

"This was gratuitous violence visited upon an innocent victim who was surrounded by three other females and she was punched and kicked when she was on the ground and even more vulnerable".

The defendant also admitted possessing 22 Class C Lyrica tablets in relation to January 2 this year. Police had stopped an Audi vehicle in the Broughshane area and McCollum had hidden the drugs in her bra.

The court heard McCollum had recently been given a suspended jail sentence at a Crown Court for drugs offences.

At court today, she was given a four months prison term but had £500 bail fixed for appeal.

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