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Teen knocked his pensioner neighbour (75) unconscious during dispute over dogs

By Alan Erwin

Published 15/01/2016

A teenager who knocked a 75-year-old neighbour unconscious during a dispute over dogs running loose has been sentenced to six months in prison.

Gary McKee punched the pensioner as he tried to take photos of fencing supposed to keep the animals in.

The elderly victim was found slumped over the wheel of his car following the attack in Co Antrim last August.

McKee, 19, of Gorman Close in Greenisland, was released on bail pending an appeal against the jail term imposed for the assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard today that police were called out to the area over claims two of his dogs had got out and killed a cat.

Officers returned the pets to the defendant before speaking to both him and the older man.

But just over an hour later an ambulance was called out to deal with the 75-year-old.

He said that after police left he got a camera and returned in his car to McKee's house to take a picture of the fencing.

His intention was to demonstrate to the dog warden that it was too low, allowing the animals to jump over.

McKee approached him while he was still in the car, asked what he was doing and then punched him, the court was told.

A prosecution lawyer said: "(The victim) was knocked unconscious and was discovered by an unknown passerby, slumped over his wheel."

The pensioner was taken to hospital, where he was kept in for two days.

Defence solicitor Brendan Blaney described his client's behaviour as "shameful".

Mr Blaney added: "He has made a fulsome and sincere apology."

District Judge Peter King insisted that it could never be appropriate for a 19-year-old man to punched a 75-year-old unconscious.

Imposing six months imprisonment, he said: "In order for this court to maintain the confidence of this community there's no alternative but a period of custody."

However, Judge King granted a defence application to release McKee on bail until the hearing of his appeal against the outcome.

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