Belfast Telegraph

Judge tells street Derry drinker who hit girl he's 'a worthless piece of humanity'

BY GEORGE JACKSON

A HOMELESS street drinker who punched a 16-year-old schoolgirl in the face in an unprovoked attack has been described by a judge as "a worthless piece of humanity".

It was the second time since November that chronic alcoholic Liam Bradley (42) had been jailed for attacking a young girl on the streets of Londonderry.

Bradley, who now has 215 convictions, was yesterday jailed for 14 months after he admitted punching the girl from behind as she walked along Foyle Street near Derry city centre with two friends.

District Judge Barney McElholm told Bradley that he wished he could have given him five times the sentence he had imposed.

A prosecution solicitor said Bradley – a chronic alcoholic who sleeps rough on the streets of the city – ran at the teenager from behind and punched her to the ground last Saturday night.

The girl, who was left stunned and dazed, was later treated in hospital for bruising to her face and lips.

Bradley's own solicitor told Derry Magistrates Court that his client's criminal record was horrendous.

The solicitor said Bradley was jailed last year for five months for a similar attack on tourists, and last month he was given a suspended sentence for another public order offence. Last November, Bradley was jailed for 10 months after pleading guilty to attacking an Australian tourist and another schoolgirl.

He was recorded on CCTV walking past in the direction of Orchard Street when he passed a group of schoolchildren. Bradley was seen raising his right arm and hitting the girl in the face.

Shortly afterwards, he was seen near Derry's tourist information centre approaching a man using a walking stick and a woman, later identified as Australian tourists.

Bradley was again recorded forcefully striking the man in the face. The repeat offender later claimed he couldn't remember the attacks, although he pleaded guilty.

Sentencing him at the time, Mr McElholm described Bradley as a "scourge on the city", and told him his assaults on the young girl and Australian were unprovoked, disgraceful and loathsome.

Jailing Bradley again yesterday for 14 months, Mr McElholm described him as a worthless piece of humanity who was also a danger to the public. When Bradley was jailed last July for three months after verbally abusing police, his then solicitor suggested that the street drinker was offending in order to be sent to jail.

At that point Bradley had only been released from prison two weeks beforehand.

"His modus operandi is to offend, get sent to jail, get released and reoffend and get sent back to jail," he said. Even as far back as late 2007 Bradley had a 17-page long criminal conviction record, mainly for public order offences.

In December that year Bradley carried out a number of assaults the day after he was released from Maghaberry Prison. He had been released from prison on Friday, and quickly spent his release money of £119 on drink.

The following day – Saturday, December 1 – he assaulted police officers and resisted arrest during the Apprentice Boys' Lundy's Day parade in the city centre. He was heavily intoxicated when he lashed out, kicked and spat at the police officers and shouted sectarian abuse at shoppers. By December 4, he was back behind bars.

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