Belfast Telegraph

Belfast bus tour man bashed rival's head during parking space row

By Alan Erwin

A bus tour worker punched a rival operator up to 10 times and banged his head off a kiosk in a row over parking in Belfast city centre, a court has heard.

Michael Johnston said he was left drifting in an out of consciousness after David ‘Beefy' Cromie kicked and beat him on the ground in front of afternoon shoppers.

Cromie (36), of Seabourne Parade, Belfast, was convicted in his absence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and attempted grievous bodily harm.

A warrant has now been issued for his arrest so he can be brought for sentencing.

Mr Johnston (38), operations manager with City Sightseeing, Belfast, was attacked at Castle Place on September 10, 2009.

He said Cromie, who worked for the rival Allens Tours, had ordered him to move a bus so one of his could park there, threatening violence if he refused.

Cromie, together with a second man, then knocked him to the ground and continued to kick and punch him, Belfast Magistrates Court heard.

“I drifted in and out of consciousness,” Mr Johnston said.

A bus driver for City Sightseeing who saw the beating recalled seeing his colleague going down on one knee after the first blow.

“Beefy lifted him by the side of the head and started banging it off a phone box,” he said. “At that stage all the public gathered around telling them to leave him alone. They walked away.”

Another ticket seller witness told of her shock at the attack.

“I was looking to see what was behind his head because I was really flabbergasted that someone could be doing it with such force,” she said.

Richard McConkey, defending, put it to Mr Johnston that he had been involved in a fight and “gave as good as you got”.

But the victim replied: “I was standing at my bus. He came over to me and threatened me.”

District judge Ken Nixon ruled: “In the circumstances the defendant is convicted of all the complaints before the court.”

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