Belfast Telegraph

Girl's school formal horror as her date 'fractures her face'

By Alan Erwin

A teenage girl suffered a broken nose and two fractured cheekbones in an alleged "out of the blue" attack by her school formal date, the High Court has heard.

The victim was punched in the face up to five times by the student she invited to go with her to the function in Ballymena, Co Antrim, prosecutors claimed.

At one stage the 17-year-old said she blacked out during last week's alleged assault.

Anthony Kearns (18), of Arundel Walk in west Belfast, faces a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm to the girl.

Setting out the case at a bail hearing, prosecution counsel Kate McKay said paramedics were called to the Tullyglass House Hotel in the early hours of last Saturday.

The victim, also from Belfast, claimed Kearns attacked her before fleeing.

She told police that she had made a last-minute decision to attend her school formal, with Kearns agreeing to accompany her.

During the evening the accused's mood worsened when a row with someone else led to him being hit on the nose, the court heard.

According to the victim's account he became paranoid, arguing with door staff and claiming paramilitaries were going to get him.

She followed him outside when he left the hotel around 2am to wait for the bus home, Mrs McKay said.

Kearns allegedly became increasingly irrational despite schoolgirl's attempts to reason with him.

"She says he came at her, assaulting her four or five times to the face," the barrister told the court.

"She believes that she blacked out momentarily and the next thing she recalls is the applicant climbing over a wall and running away."

Kearns was arrested after walking into Ballymena police station to report the alleged assault on him.

Surgery scheduled for this week at the Ulster Hospital has been put back because of the extent of the victim's facial swelling, the court heard.

Producing photos of the injuries sustained, Mrs McKay said: "It's a really, really violent attack, out of the blue it would seem, just out of something that occurred earlier in the evening."

Defence counsel accepted Kearns had been "extremely drunk" on the night.

"His recollection of event is vague.

"He remembers an altercation inside the formal, he was punched and had a broken nose," the lawyer said.

A return to his home address was opposed and the application was adjourned to allow checks on possible alternative living arrangements.

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