Belfast Telegraph

Prison for west Belfast man who slashed victim's face

By Michael Donnelly

A 20-year-old west Belfast man who slashed a man's face in a "wholly unprovoked attack without reason or cause" has been sentenced to five-and-a-half years.

Prosecutor David Russell said that the victim was standing outside his girlfriend's home having a smoke when Edward McCabe, from the Springfield Road, approached him. As he did so, he said: "What's the craic?", before swinging his right arm at him.

Mr Russell said that the man felt something run down his face before realising he had been stabbed. His girlfriend, who had come out of her house, ran at McCabe, who then threatened to stab her as well. He was arrested a short time later in his aunt's home.

The victim's wound needed 22 stitches. Fortunately no nerve or muscle damage had been caused, although it has left an unsightly scar, his solicitor told the court.

Solicitor Advocate Gerard McNamara said McCabe realised the seriousness of the situation and fully expected a lengthy custodial sentence for what was an unprovoked attack in a public place. But he added that McCabe had struck only one blow, was aged only 18, and at the time was high on a cocktail of drink and drugs.

McCabe, said Mr McNamara, was a young man who at the time was abusing alcohol and drugs.

Judge Corinne Philpott QC said McCabe would be given credit for his guilty pleas.

The Belfast Crown Court judge said that although it was reported McCabe was motivated to learn and to change, she said that what occurred appeared to have been a random attack which had left a young man with a significant scar.

Judge Philpott said that while McCabe was making progress in custody, and to encourage him on his release after serving two years and nine months in custody, he will serve the same period on licence.

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