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Cop headbutt thug 'went off rails' after flamethrower attack on him

By Staff Reporter

Published 19/02/2016

Mark McPeake got four months
Mark McPeake got four months

A man who headbutted and spat at police officers went off the rails after his genitals were left fused to his thigh when he was attacked with a makeshift flamethrower, a court was told yesterday.

Mark McPeake (49), of Drumtara, Ballymena, appeared at the town's Magistrates Court charged over the attack on police in Portrush.

His defence barrister Andrew Moriarty told the court his client had difficulties with alcohol which were exacerbated by an incident in 2013 when he was "the victim of a flamethrower-type attack". He added: "He was very badly burned (and) that was something that knocked him even further out of kilter."

Two men were jailed for three years for their role in the attack on McPeake at a house party.

Previous court hearings were told the pair used an aerosol and a lighter to burn the defendant, and that McPeake required surgery afterwards because of the injuries he sustained.

At the time a defence lawyer said the attack was a prank that gone wrong.

In court yesterday McPeake admitted being disorderly at a takeaway in Dunluce Street, Portrush, on July 15 last year and headbutting a police officer in the face, and spitting in the face of another officer.

He also caused criminal damage by urinating in a cell in Coleraine PSNI station.

Defence barrister Mr Moriarty said his client has had a lengthy battle with alcohol.

Referring to the demeanour of the defendant in the court, District Judge Des Perry said McPeake could be considered to be losing the battle.

The judge told him: "I don't like spitting."

Mr Moriarty claimed his client had no memory of the incident.

In light of the "horrible" attack, the barrister also asked the court to consider deferring any sentence to act as motivation to the defendant.

However, Mr Perry refused, and McPeake, who has a previous criminal record, was jailed for four months.

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