Belfast Telegraph

Baseball bat attack jury hear interview transcripts

By Ashleigh McDonald

A jury yesterday heard transcripts of police interviews held with three men and a youth arrested in connection with a baseball bat and hatchet attack in north Belfast.

All four defendants are currently standing trial at Belfast Crown Court on charges arising from the beating, which occurred in the Tiger's Bay area on the evening of June 19, 2015.

A 22-year-old man was beaten unconscious and sustained multiple wounds in the assault on Mervue Street.

Among his injuries were a fractured kneecap and several wounds to his scalp which required stitches and staples.

The four accused males are all originally from or have links to the Tiger's Bay area of north Belfast.

The accused are 23-year-old Benjamin Mark Hagan from Moss Road in Lambeg, 37-year-old Alan George James McIlwaine from Mackey Street in Belfast, 28-year-old David John Nixon from Blenheim Drive in Newtownards, and a youth who cannot be named due to his age.

All four deny causing the 22-year-old man grievous bodily harm with intent.

They have also been charged with possessing an offensive weapon.

In Hagan's case, the weapon is a hatchet, while the remaining three accused have been charged with possessing a baseball bat. All four defendants also denied this charge.

As the trial at Belfast Crown Court entered its second week, the jury heard transcripts of police interviews which were conducted following the four arrests.

When Nixon was arrested, he said: "I am completely innocent and I have nothing more to say."

He then gave a 'no comment' response to the rest of the questions put to him.

Father-of-three McIlwaine made the case that on the day in question he was "on the drink" before returning to his mother's Mervue Street home at around 9pm.

When he was asked what he did at his mother's, he replied: "Just lying with my head down."

When asked if he knew the injured man, McIlwaine said he knew him "a wee bit - I know him to talk to in the street".

He also told police he hadn't seen the injured party for around seven months, and that he had no issues with him.

Hagan, the court heard, remained silent throughout his interview and refused to answer any questions - including whether or not he had hit the injured party over the head with a hatchet.

When the youth was arrested and interviewed, he told police he had been at the Tour of the North band parade that afternoon.

He made the case that following the parade, he "went to a mate's house, watched TV and chilled out". He refused to answer any questions regarding the attack.

At hearing.

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