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Son of man shot by UVF given six-year jail sentence for stabbing victim in the face with a broken bottle

By John Cassidy

The son of a UVF victim who lost both his legs in a paramilitary shooting has been handed a six-year prison sentence for stabbing a man in the face with a broken bottle.

Andrew Glen Peden (31), of Canmore Close, off the Shankill Road in west Belfast, pleaded guilty to wounding Jordan Potts and possession of an offensive weapon.

Belfast Crown Court heard that the attack happened in the early hours of New Year's Day, 2016 in an alleyway in the Glencairn estate.

Prosecution counsel Kate McKay said Mr Potts and his girlfriend had been at a house party in the area where they had been "winding people up'' including a body builder. The court heard the victim had also been "winding up'' the defendant but they "left on good terms'' and Mr Potts and his girlfriend went to a friend's house across the street at around 4am to 5am.

"The defendant approached Mr Potts in an alleyway and attacked him with a broken bottle and stabbed him in the face.''

Judge Geoffrey Miller QC was told that Peden left the scene but was later found by police.

Mrs McKay said the injured party sustained a stab woundmeasuring 12cm in diameter which required multiple stitches.

"The stab wound is still very visible. He says that he feels that when people look at him they must think he is trouble, because of the mark on his face.''

When interviewed by police, Peden denied attacking Mr Potts but claimed they had a "fist fight'' outside the party.

The prosecution counsel said the only mitigating factor was Peden's guilty plea, which came on the morning his trial was due to start.

She added that there were a number of aggravating factors, including his previous convictions and the use of a broken bottle as a weapon.

Defence barrister Richard McConkey said that by his guilty plea Peden "has shown his remorse to the victim, which also saved him having to give evidence in court''.

He said Peden maintained that on the night in question he had been drinking from the bottle and acted in "self defence''.

Mr McConkey described how Peden had a "traumatic background''.

Andrew Peden senior was abducted in 1998 from his west Belfast home, was tortured, beaten and then blasted in both legs with a shotgun, leaving him disabled for life. "This had a significant impact on him,'' said Mr McConkey. "He saw himself as somebody who had to seek retribution for the very serious attack on his father."

The court heard that in 2009, Peden was sentenced to 10 years for robbery and spent five years in jail, with a further five years on licence. However, because of the attack on Mr Potts, his licence was revoked.

The judge said Peden had 38 previous convictions, adding that the Probation Service had assessed Peden as having a high risk of reoffending.

"I am satisfied that you are a danger to the public under the terms of the dangerous provisions and I intend to impose an extended custodial sentence," he said.

Had he contested the charges and been found guilty after a trial, the judge said he would have imposed a sentence of five years.

But Judge Miller said he was discounting the sentence by one fifth, and imposed an extended custodial sentence of six years, with four years to be spent in custody and a further two years on licence.

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