Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Man who died after attack 'had head jumped on like trampoline' - court hears

Lee Smyth was found unconscious beside a river at Ballinahone Avenue in June 2010
Lee Smyth was found unconscious beside a river at Ballinahone Avenue in June 2010

A man who died two years after being attacked allegedly had his head jumped on like a trampoline, the High Court heard today.

Prosecutors said a witness came forward to describe the alleged attack on Lee Smyth in Armagh following the launch of a murder investigation.

The 32-year-old victim was found unconscious beside a river at Ballinahone Avenue in June 2010.

He had suffered serious head injuries and never recovered, with the decision taken to switch off his life-support machine in June 2012.

Details of the alleged assault were disclosed as one of the two men accused of his killing was granted permission to attend a wedding.

Michael Wilson (22) of Thornleigh, Armagh, was charged with murder following a statement made to police last October.

This witness claimed Wilson was involved in what was described as a "vicious" attack.

Nicola Auret, prosecuting, said the account claimed he "kicked and stamped on the victim as he lay motionless on the ground".

The witness further alleged that he was "jumping up and down on the victim's head like a trampoline".

Police believe the attack followed a chance encounter, with no previous history or apparent motive, the court heard.

Ms Auret also claimed unidentified people have been subjected to "an orchestrated campaign of intimidation", involving threats and unspecified devices, since the murder probe began. 

Wilson was granted bail earlier this year on conditions including a ban on going within five miles of Armagh.

He wanted clearance to live inside that exclusion zone for a number of weeks, and to stay overnight at a hotel in Enniskillen for a wedding.

Defence counsel Joel Lyndsay stressed there has been no suggestion his client is linked to the alleged intimidation.

Mr Justice Gillen refused to allow Wilson back within five miles of the city, pointing out that witnesses in the case need to feel protected.

But granting permission for the accused to stay at the hotel for one night, the judge banned him from taking any alcohol after midnight.

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