Four jailed for shocking and degrading attack on unconscious woman
Three men and a woman have been jailed after a shocking and degrading attack in which they filmed themselves shaving the hair off an unconscious woman before burning it and slapping her while she was unconscious.
The incident was filmed on the mobile phone of 22-year-old Paula Wilson.
The footage, which was recorded some time between May 17 and 25, 2013, only came to police attention when Paula Wilson was arrested for a separate offence.
Wilson, from Main Street in Cullybackey but originally from Millfield in Ballymena, was handed a 32-month sentence, half of which will be spent in custody with the remaining 16 months spent on supervised licence.
She gave three conflicting versions of events before sentencing - admitted to two counts of aiding and abetting assault occasioning actual bodily harm (AOABH) and aiding and abetting common assault. Three of her co-accused were also jailed.
Heroin addict Paul Joshua Balmer (42) from Crosshill Views in Kells denied involvement and contested the matter but was found unanimously guilty by a jury at Antrim Crown Court on three charges last September.
Balmer - who committed the offences just two days after he was released from HMP Magilligan - was found guilty of abetting assault occasioning actual bodily harm (AOABH) and common assault. Balmer, who has 261 previous convictions, was handed a five-year sentence - half of which will be spent in prison with the remaining half of the sentence served on licence when he is released.
The two other Ballymena men - 23-year-old Alister William Hamilton from Drumtara and Nathan Telford, also 23 and from Wilson Avenue - pleaded guilty to AOABH and common assault.
Telford was handed a 40-month sentence, half of which will be served in custody with the remaining 20 months on licence. Judge McColgan spoke of Telford's "disgraceful behaviour" towards the victim - 33-year-old Lesley McLeod - who he invited to the flat - and said he lacked remorse or insight regarding the impact the incident has had on her.
Hamilton was sentenced to 36 months - also half in custody, half on supervised licence.
The court heard he was the only one who made admissions to police when arrested, and it was accepted the remorse he has since displayed was genuine. After passing sentence at Antrim Crown Court sitting in Belfast, Judge McColgan said: "Should this case come before the Court of Appeal, then that court should be shown the recorded footage of the entire episode."
The footage in question was shown to the shocked jury at Balmer's trial last September and again last December when Wilson, Telford and Hamilton were to be sentenced.