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Woman suffered nightmares after being held at knifepoint by woman she offered to help

Charlotte Skovhaus offered to drive Cher Quinn home and was held at knifepoint by Quinn in her car.

A WOMAN WHO was attacked at knifepoint by a homeless woman has told a court that she suffered nightmares and now feels physically ill whenever she sees homeless people.

Charlotte Skovhaus went to help Cher Quinn when she saw Quinn sitting on the ground and crying outside shops at a shopping centre in Santry, north Dublin.

Quinn told Skovhaus she had been robbed and Skovhaus offered to drive her back to her home in Dublin city centre. During the drive, Quinn became aggressive and pointed a knife at the victim’s chest and demanded money.

Quinn went through the victim’s handbag and became extremely verbally abusive. After the attack Quinn was identified by CCTV and arrested.

Quinn, formerly of Kildonan Road, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attempted robbery and producing a knife on August 29 2016.

Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, told the court that the victim continues to receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. She suffers flashbacks, recurring nightmares, insomnia and headaches.

A psychological assessment stated that she becomes physically and mentally ill when she sees a homeless person or a drug user sitting or walking on the street.

In a victim impact statement, Skovhaus said she becomes very afraid on seeing a homeless person as a result of the attack.

Gerardine Small BL, defending, told Judge Melanie Greally that the attack was a despicable crime. She said her client suffered from mental health problems caused in part by an extremely traumatic incident in her early life.

Counsel said at the time of the attack, Quinn was seeing things and hearing voices. She said her client was now completely drug free and was genuinely sorry for her actions.

Judge Greally said the victim’s quality of life had taken a significant setback as a consequence of her kindness on the day.

“Her perception of weaker, more vulnerable members of the community has changed. This is very regrettable,” she said.

The judge accepted that Quinn was genuinely remorseful and noted she was doing well in custody and had the support of her family.

Judge Greally  suspended the final two years of a five-and-a-half year prison term, on condition that Quinn engage with the Probation Service concerning her mental health and substance abuse issues.