Tourist attacked nine strangers on Dublin streets during ‘mental break’ including elderly woman (85) and boy (4)

An Australian woman attacked nine “complete strangers” on the streets of Dublin, pushing over victims including an 85-year-old woman and a terrified four-year-old boy.

Elizabeth Windsor (49), also shoved a pregnant woman to the ground as she waited at a bus stop and punched a university student in the throat. Windsor had come to Ireland as a tourist when she suffered a “severe mental break” and carried out a spate of “horrible” random, unprovoked assaults, a court heard.

Judge John Hughes adjourned sentencing at Dublin District Court. Windsor pleaded guilty to assault charges over a four-month period between January and April last year.

The court was told a member of the public flagged down gardaí on Parnell Square at 1.20pm on January 21, 2023, after Windsor assaulted a four-year-old boy by pushing him at nearby Cole’s Lane. He had no visible injuries but was “distraught and upset,” a garda said.

In a victim impact statement, his mother said the attack affected the boy to this day. He had since “experienced fear in crowds” and had panic attacks when in Dublin city centre.

“He’s afraid that that bad lady who hit him will be there,” the victim’s mother said. “She instilled fear in my child.”

A woman was walking on Aston Quay on February 28 last year when she was approached by Windsor who pushed her with both hands into the chest, causing her to stagger and fall into another woman behind her. The accused gave the victim “a disgusted look” before walking away.

At 10.45am, on March 7, gardaí found a US tourist lying in the road at Dame Street and helped her up. She had been crossing the road when Windsor stepped into her path and shoved her, causing her to fall.

On March 29 last year, a UCD student was walking on Inn’s Quay, Dublin 7 when the accused came in the opposite direction, carrying luggage. Windsor stepped into her path and punched her in the throat before walking away.

This victim said in an impact statement she had been going to visit her elderly father. She was left winded and in “a lot of pain” following the assault. “I grabbed my throat and tried to breathe, I couldn’t understand, why did this happen to me? Why did she punch me in the throat?” she said.

On March 31, the accused “violently pushed” an 85-year-old woman to the ground at Phibsborough Road. Later on the same day, a woman was walking on a street in Dublin 7 when she was approached by Windsor who was holding her phone in the air. The accused “shoved the phone into the front of the lady’s throat”.

Windsor approached a woman waiting to get a bus to work at Sherrard Street Lower on April 1 and pushed her to the ground. The woman, who was pregnant at the time, was “visibly shaken but thankfully there were no injuries,” the garda said.

Windsor was born and raised in China before moving to Australia where she worked as a town planner for 10 years, her solicitor Philip Denieffe said. She came to Ireland as a tourist in December 2022.

Windsor was diagnosed with schizophrenia and it was unclear when the symptoms first appeared but she suffered a “severe mental break” while travelling here, Mr Denieffe said. She went from owning her own home in Melbourne to being homeless on the streets of Dublin.

There was “no rationality” to the assaults which were all similar and Windsor was apologetic but could not offer any explanation. She accepted that though there were no serious physical injuries, they were “horrible experiences for anybody”. The victims were “complete strangers” to the accused, who was not in her right mind.

When she appeared in court she had been in custody since last April and had been in the Central Mental Hospital. She was on regular medication now and doing much better, Mr Denieffe said.

The court was told arrangements were being made with the Australian embassy to fly Windsor home there after the case is finalised.

Judge Hughes said that, at the age of 85, people were often frail and afraid while out walking without being pushed over. The assault on the four-year-old would have been “terrifying”, he said.

He remanded the accused in custody to March, for compensation and finalisation.

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