Belfast Telegraph

Thug who beat up bus tour rival now pastor, court told

By Alan Erwin

A former bus tour worker convicted of beating and banging a rival operator's head off a kiosk in Belfast city centre is now a church pastor, a court has heard.

David ‘Beefy' Cromie has moved to England, where he has established his own congregation, his lawyer disclosed.

Earlier this week Cromie (36), formerly of Seabourne Parade, Belfast, was found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and attempted grievous bodily harm.

He was said to have been working for Allens Tours when he punched Michael Johnston up to 10 times in a row over parking in September 2009.

Mr Johnston (38), operations manager for City Sightseeing, Belfast, said he was threatened and then beaten and kicked on the ground until he drifted in and out of consciousness.

A bus driver witness also gave evidence that Cromie lifted the victim's head and banged it off a phone box at Castle Place in front of afternoon shoppers.

Cromie was previously convicted in his absence, with a warrant issued for his arrest so he could be brought for sentencing.

A defence barrister told Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday that the defendant was studying at college in England and returned to Northern Ireland once he realised he was being sought.

Richard McConkey also stressed that Cromie has no history of violence.

“He's a pastor in England and has his own congregation there,” Mr McConkey said.

“He is someone, I expect, who has never been in trouble before.

“He's now turned the corner,” he added.

District Judge Ken Nixon ordered reports to be prepared before sentence is passed.

Cromie, who attended court, is on continuing bail to return to court next month.

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