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One-punch victim in a critical condition, court told

By George Jackson

Published 12/01/2016

A man is in a critical condition in hospital following a one-punch attack in Londonderry, a court has heard
A man is in a critical condition in hospital following a one-punch attack in Londonderry, a court has heard

A man is in a critical condition in hospital following a one-punch attack in Londonderry, a court has heard.

The man, in his 30s, was punched once on the face inside Pitchers Restaurant at Alder Road in the city at 1am on Sunday.

A police officer told the city's Magistrates Court yesterday that as a result of the single punch he fell backwards and struck his head off the floor.

He is being treated for life-threatening injuries in the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Before the court was Andrew McLaughlin (34), from Northland Road, charged with assaulting his victim with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm.

The police witness said the incident was reported to the PSNI by staff members in the restaurant and by members of the public.

When the police arrived at the scene the victim was being carried on a stretcher to an ambulance.

He was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital, but later transferred to the RVH following a deterioration in his condition as a result of the head injury.

The constable said that 10 hours after the incident the defendant arrived voluntarily at Strand Road PSNI station and in the absence of his solicitor he made full and frank admissions.

The defendant said he'd punched the victim with his closed fist.

The officer said that CCTV footage confirmed the defendant's version that he and the victim had an argument in the smoking area.

During the argument the defendant was persuaded by friends to walk away, but 20 minutes later the victim tapped the defendant on the shoulder and smirked at him before the defendant then punched him in the face.

Applying for bail, defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott said the defendant became angry when the victim wrongly accused him of using steroids as part of his training programme.

He said the defendant, a father-of-four, was deeply remorseful for his actions and was also extremely concerned about the condition of the victim. "There is no animosity between the defendant and the victim and the defendant has made frank admissions to the police," he said.

District Judge Barney McElholm said the incident showed yet again the dangers of a one-punch attack. He said the defendant had no propensity towards violence and he accepted as genuine the defendant's concerns for the victim. He released the defendant on his own bail of £750 to appear in court again on February 4.

The defendant was banned from entering the Creggan and Rosemount areas and banned from consuming alcohol. The defendant must observe a 10pm to 7am curfew, and is also to be electronically tagged.

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