Woman ‘caught urinating in Primark changing rooms’

A Belfast woman allegedly attacked a police officer after being caught urinating in Primark changing rooms, the High Court heard on Thursday.

Prosecutors claimed Karen O’Brien started shouting and swearing when she was discovered at the newly opened city centre store on New Year’s Eve.

Primark

Primark

The 51-year-old former bank employee, of Lenadoon Avenue, faces charges of disorderly behaviour, along with assaulting, resisting and obstructing a PSNI constable.

O’Brien is further accused of harassment and intimidation over unrelated incidents earlier last month.

Opposing her application for bail, Crown lawyer Conor Maguire said she has significant issues with alcohol.

He said police were called to Primark on Castle Street amid reports that a woman was urinating in the changing area and “kicking off”.

Mr Maguire told the court: “Staff claimed the applicant had no clothes on and had urinated in the changing room.

“She tried to put in a pair of jeans belonging to Primark and they were noted to be covered in urine.”

O’Brien then allegedly gave false details before kicking out and striking the leg of a policewoman attempting to arrest her.

“Police do believe its necessary for the applicant to be remanded in custody to protect the public, given the incident in Primark, the time of day and given the fact children would have been in the store,” Mr Maguire said.

However, he stressed that a different view may be taken if there was structured support available.

Defence counsel said O’Brien had stayed sober for a number of years, securing a position with a leading bank.

But following a family bereavement she lost the job and began drinking again.

Mr Justice McAlinden stressed the need for O’Brien to get medical help for her “self-destructive” alcohol problems.

“The nature of the alleged offending in the Primark store on New Year’s Eve is really sad to hear,” he said.

“If that’s not an indication of having fallen as far as you can fall as a result of drink I don’t know what is.”

Despite denying full bail to the accused at this stage, the judge agreed to allow compassionate, temporary release once an appointment with her GP is confirmed.