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Man who attacked student with broken bottle jailed for five-and-a-half years

By Ashleigh McDonald

Published 07/11/2015

A man from Co Down who thrust a broken bottle into a student's face in the university area of Belfast is today starting a prison sentence for the
A man from Co Down who thrust a broken bottle into a student's face in the university area of Belfast is today starting a prison sentence for the "shocking and unprovoked attack"

A man from Co Down who thrust a broken bottle into a student's face in the university area of Belfast is today starting a prison sentence for the "shocking and unprovoked attack".

Shane McParland, from Manse Road in Carryduff, was handed a five-and-a-half year sentence by Judge Sandra Crawford, who told him he would serve half the term in prison and the remaining two years and nine months on supervised licence after being released from custody.

The 20-year old pleaded guilty to a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm following the incident, which occurred in the early hours of November 1 last year.

Belfast Crown Court heard that McParland, who was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, was drinking and had taken what he believed to be an ecstasy tablet prior to the attack, which he claimed he could not remember,

The injured party - who at the time was a student at Queen's - required hospital treatment for facial injuries and has not returned to his studies.

He described feeling like his mouth was being ripped open when he was attacked, and said there had been a lot of blood.

The court heard that both parties had been out in Belfast on the evening of October 31 last year. Having spent the night with friends in the Students' Union, in the early hours of the following morning, McParland left the bar and became involved in a disagreement with the injured party's group at University Square.

At a previous court hearing, Crown prosecutor Rosemary Walsh said that a friend of the injured party recalled McParland approaching their group from the side of the street. The friend said they remembered the stranger shouting and being aggressive, but they could not make out what he was actually saying.

The same person also said that after his friend was struck in the face with the broken bottle, there was a "large gap" around his mouth and a chunk of flesh missing from his lip.

Ms Walsh said that an independent witness observed McParland smashing a bottle before approaching the victim and his group of friends. The witness also reported being "shocked" by the injuries he saw after the attack.

Another witness claimed they had heard McParland ask the injured man's group about a red Corsa car that was parked on the street, and that during this conversation McParland became "more and more aggressive".

The defendant was also described as being "childish and arrogant" by another eyewitness.

The injured party was taken to the Ulster Hospital where he required treatment for the injury to his face. He received six stitches to his upper lip and 16 to his lower lip, as well as seven stitches to a cut above his cheek. His treatment also required the intervention of a dental surgeon.

Police went to McParland's address the next day, and when he was questioned about the bottle attack at University Square, he initially made the case that he had been drinking in Carryduff.

He was then arrested and during interview said he had been drinking in the University area and had been given what he thought was an ecstasy tablet. He also claimed that he had been drinking heavily and could not remember the rest of the night.

Ms Walsh spoke of the devastating impact the attack has had on the young victim, who was "not able to go back to university" after the incident.

Passing sentence, Judge Crawford said there was "no doubt" that the injured party had "suffered psychologically as a result of the shocking and unprovoked attack".

Belfast Telegraph

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