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Mother molested in front of kids

A psychiatric patient molested a young mother in front of her four children because he had been drinking and not taken his medication, Limavady Magistrates Court heard last Wednesday.

A psychiatric patient molested a young mother in front of her four children because he had been drinking and not taken his medication, Limavady Magistrates Court heard last Wednesday.

PSNI Inspector Alan Hutton said the family had been walking along Scroggy Road, Limavady, at 7.45pm on July 23 last year when a man approaching from the direction of Greystone Road, groped one of the woman's breasts and ran off towards Rathmore Road.

He said a passer-by heard the young mother cry out, saw that she was in a distressed state and gave chase before managing to detain the attacker with the help of other people nearby until police arrived.

Richard Alexander Sherard, aged 35, formerly of Connell Street, Limavady, but now living at the town's Ballyclose Hostel, admitted a charge of indecent assault.

Defence counsel Dean Mooney said Sherard, who had a long history of mental illness, stopped taking his medication and was drinking before the attack.

However, the barrister added that he had been a resident at the hostel since being released from Gransha Hospital in March and was now under 24-hour supervision.

After studying pre-sentence and psychiatric reports, Resident Magistrate Eamon King said it was a traumatic experience for the mother and that Sherard had been detained through the intervention of members of the public.

Placing Sherard on probation for one year, with a condition that he continue to live at the hostel, the RM said not taking drink or cannabis would minimise the danger of a relapse.

Sherard was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for the next five years.

Mr King said: "His record does not indicate that he is an individual who has a tendency to indulge in this type of behaviour.

"I am satisfied that this was a 'one-off' brought about by alcohol and failure to take his medication."

Prank at party backfired

A PRANK after a party backfired and led to a man being treated for serious facial burns, Limavady Magistrates Court heard last Wednesday.

Prosecuting counsel Stephanie Boyd said the incident happened at 5.30am in Caman Park, Ballykelly, on August 26 last year, when one of the guests, Nathan Whittaker Williams, awoke to see a red flame and felt his face burning.

Gerald Francis Logue, aged 20, of Josephine Avenue, Limavady, had lit gas in an aerosol can and sprayed him with the flame.

Mr Williams was initially taken to Altnagelvin and then transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for treatment to his injuries.

Miss Boyd added that Logue admitted the assault but told police he had done it as a prank to singe his friend's hair and not to cause injury.

Defence counsel Jonathan Cairns said his client, an apprentice joiner, was one of 10 children and had been 18 at the time.

Earlier that evening, the side of Logue's head had been shaved and the aerosol prank was a way to get his own back.

"It was that kind of a party," the barrister said.

However, Mr Cairns said Logue had been shocked at the outcome and his apologies were accepted by Mr Williams, with whom he was still on friendly terms and who had, fortunately, made a full recovery.

He added: "It was a stupid mistake and a lesson has been learned."

Resident Magistrate Eamon King told Logue: "This young fella - a friend of yours - could have been seriously injured and permanently scarred for life."

But he added: "This was a prank that went wrong on this occasion. You're not the kind of person who would ever think of inflicting this type of injury deliberately."

Mr King imposed a £750 fine.

Assault took place outside nightclub

A BRICKLAYER attacked a man outside a nightclub because he was friendly with someone who had prosecuted him for assault several months earlier, Limavady Magistrates Court heard last Wednesday.

Prosecuting counsel Stephanie Boyd said the incident took place early on February 27 in the car park at the Gorteen Hotel's Jensen's club.

She said 22-year-old Kieran Gaile, of Seacoast Road, Limavady, had approached the injured party and started talking about another male with whom he had fallen out.

CCTV footage showed that Gaile had then punched his victim in the face.

Miss Boyd added that the man required dental treatment for chipped and loose teeth and also suffered grazing, cuts and bruises.

Defending, John Fahy said the most aggravating feature was that the victim had been friendly with a person whom Gaile had been convicted of assaulting last year.

The solicitor added that Gaile, who admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm, had drunk so much he couldn't remember anything about the incident.

Resident Magistrate Eamon King told Gaile that he had been bound over in the sum of £350 to keep the peace for 12 months and was ordered to pay £400 compensation after the earlier assault.

And he said that while Gaile claimed he couldn't remember anything about the attack his memory had allowed him to make the connection between his latest victim and the earlier injured party.

Warning him that any further assault would result in a custodial sentence, Mr King estreated the £350 from the first assault and fined Gaile £750 for the second, making a total of £1,100.

Man became involved in brawl

A MAN who became involved in a drunken brawl after a night out drinking was fined £250 at Limavady Magistrates Court last Wednesday.

Philip James Mullan, aged 22, of Mount Eden, Limavady, admitted assaulting Ian Rankin in the street near his home early on October 16 last year.

Prosecuting counsel Stephanie Boyd said Mr Rankin reported to police that he had been assaulted while making his way home through Mount Eden.

However, because the injured party had been drinking, police were not able to take a full statement from him until the following day.

Miss Boyd said Mr Rankin had been with his girlfriend and stopped to speak to Mullan as a group of people were making their way home after a night out.

Punches were thrown and Mr Rankin's girlfriend saw Mullan hitting him as he lay on the ground.

Defence counsel Dean Mooney said that while Mullan claimed the first punch had been thrown by the injured party, he had "got the better of him" and accepted having struck Mr Rankin while helpless on the ground.

RM Eamon King said Mullan had never been in trouble before and fined him £250.

Horseplay led to arrest of friends

HORSEPLAY in a hotel car park led to two friends being arrested, Limavady Magistrates Court heard last Wednesday.

PSNI Inspector Alan Hutton said officers had been outside the Gorteen House Hotel at 2.20am on October 8 when they saw the men behaving aggressively towards each other.

They advised them to behave but the pair continued to be verbally abusive and were arrested.

James Patrick Moore, aged 30, and 29-year-old Stephen Connor, both with addresses in Tamlough Park, Ballykelly, admitted disorderly behaviour.

Defending, Johnny Sandhu said: "Both had been drinking at the Gorteen with friends.

"They were shadow boxing but police thought they were going to have a fight."

RM Eamon King fined them £150 each.

Helmet warning for motorcyclist

WHEN police stopped a motorcyclist for not having a crash helmet he elected to produce his driving documents at a later date, Limavady Magistrates Court heard last Wednesday.

PSNI Inspector Alan Hutton said that was on May 5 in Rathbeg Drive, Limavady.

But by June 4, 22-year-old Simon Lee McElwee, of Sperrin Road, Limavady, had still not turned up at the police station.

And Inspector Hutton said that when police called at his home on July 24, McElwee admitted that, in addition to failing to produce his driving licence, he had not been insured to ride the machine.

RM Eamon King imposed six penalty points and fines totalling £275.

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