Thug avoids prison after street attack on couple
A north Belfast man who punched a man and woman in a random and unprovoked attack has avoided being sent to jail.
Father-of-two Gary McComb, from Gainsborough Drive, admitted two counts of assault and disorderly behaviour.
All three charges arose from an early morning incident in Hill Street, Belfast, during which a man and woman were both punched in the face.
A prosecutor said that at around 1.30am on May 19, the victims were walking along the street when they were approached by McComb, who asked the man: "What did you say?"
Telling the court there had been "no previous altercation" between McComb and the couple, McComb initially punched the man in the mouth - then when the woman stood in front of McComb, he also punched her.
When police arrived, McComb's behaviour was such that officers had to draw their batons and use CS spray. McComb subsequently told officers he was "just disgusted with myself".
Belfast Magistrates Court heard that he also wrote a letter of apology to the man and woman he attacked.
Defence counsel Luke Curran said the early morning incident was "out of character", that McComb had displayed remorse and had shown empathy towards his victims.
District Judge Fiona Bagnall said McComb attacked "complete strangers" who were "going about their lawful business".
She handed McComb a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered him to pay his victims compensation of £75 each.