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Father accused of vicious assault on his daughter

By Chris Kilpatrick

Published 07/09/2012

Terrified families fled a park after a man launched a vicious assault on his young daughter, striking her around the head and kicking her as she lay on the ground, a court has been told.

The shocking incident is alleged to have taken place at Clarawood Millennium Park in east Belfast as young children played in the sun.

The accused appeared before Belfast Magistrates Court on Wednesday where he strongly denied aggravated assault on a female.

A woman who claimed to have witnessed the man assault a young girl gave evidence from behind a curtain.

She told the court that in May 2010 she visited the park after work to meet her children who were there with a childcare group enjoying what she described as an extremely sunny day.

She said she was sitting with two female members of staff from the childcare facility when she spotted a man coming through the gates. The witness, who said she didn’t know the man, told the court he looked angry and said she felt “scared” when he walked close to where the three women were sitting.

The witness said the man stood behind where she was sitting and yelled at a small girl to “get the f*** out of this park”.

She said the child cowered and raised her hand towards her mouth as she made her way to the man.

The witness told the other women that they should intervene, although they didn’t due to fear, the court was told.

“Then he lifted his left arm really high and he struck the child between the neck and face,” she said.

“She went flying through the air, she travelled two to three metres and fell down the side of my car. Then I saw him kick her.”

The woman said people got up and left the park as the alleged incident occurred. A defence lawyer put it to the witness that she had heard of the man’s poor reputation and “taken a dislike to him”.

The lawyer pointed out that despite a number of other witnesses said to have been present during the alleged incident, no-one else had come forward with evidence.

“I know what I saw,” she |replied.

“The force of the blow was like a man would hit a man in a brawl.”

The witness told the court that when she got home she contacted social services.

A detective constable told the court no complaint had been filed by the alleged injured party or her mother.

He also confirmed that no injuries were discovered when the girl was examined by a doctor.

The accused said he flatly denied the charge.

He said the idea of assaulting his daughter in such a way was “disgusting”.

“I never hit my daughter, never hit any of my children,” he said.

The case was adjourned until next month.

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