Wheelie-bin horror victim's fear of meeting tormentors in street
The family of a young man who was battered and left for dead in a wheelie-bin say he has been left terrified that he will meet his attackers again on the street.
Adam Robinson was dumped naked into a wheelie-bin that was taped shut and left in a wooded area of Ballymena in September 2013.
Yesterday the two men and a woman behind the humiliating assault were sentenced to a total of nine years.
But because of time already served on remand, all three are expected to be released soon.
Teri Christopher Bernard Lau (28), from Dunclug Park in Ballymena, and 28-year old Roddy Patterson, from Glendun Drive in the Co Antrim town, were each handed three-and-a-half year sentences.
They admitted assaulting Mr Robinson occasioning him actual bodily harm, and admitted false imprisonment.
Paula Wilson (22), from Main Street in Cullybackey, who at the time of the incident was in a relationship with Lau, admitted aiding and abetting false imprisonment. She was given a two-year sentence.
The victim's father Mervyn Robinson said that, given 50% remission, the trio will be released "very shortly" and "will most likely be back in Ballymena very soon".
The possibility of running into his tormentors, Mr Robinson said, scares his son, who was left with post traumatic stress disorder after the attack.
"Adam wants to go down the town in Ballymena and walk about freely, and who knows who he is going to bump in to some day when he walks around a corner," he said.
"It's tough for him. Ballymena is not that big a town and he realises the possibility of that happening and it probably plays on his mind too, which he doesn't need because he has been through so much. It's been very, very traumatic for him, so hopefully he can put this behind him."
Adam, who was 21 at the time, was found and rescued from the bin by a man walking his dog in Sentry Hill, after he had been partying with all three defendants in Lau's Dunclug Park home.
His father also expressed his heartfelt gratitute to the dog walker who rescued Adam, and to Maisie the dog.
Adam cannot remember how and why he ended up in the bin, but it was suggested during a previous court hearing that he stripped himself naked and placed himself in the bin before it was wheeled from Lau's home to a nearby shop.
It was while in the shop buying mixers that Lau saw the industrial tape, which was then used to secure the lid of the bin with Adam inside. The bin was then wedged against a tree, and it was the Crown's case that if the dog had not alerted its owner to noise coming from the bin, Adam may not have been rescued.
Mervyn Robinson said: "We have never met Maisie the dog - but believe you me, I have thought about her quite a bit." Judge Gordon Kerr said that when Adam was freed from the bin at around 4pm on September 3, 2013, he was naked, covered in sweat, extremely distressed and "clearly disorientated". The judge said that after reading victim impact reports, it was clear that he had suffered significantly as a result of his ordeal.
The reports indicated that he has had trouble sleeping, had been distressed by the publicity surrounding the incident and is suffering from PTSD.
Regarding the incident itself, Judge Kerr said Adam would have suffered from sensory deprivation while in the bin and he had "no idea why he was abandoned and how long he would be there".
Turning to each of the defendants, Judge Kerr spoke of Patterson's bad record and said that while he was giving him credit for his guilty pleas, it was "inevitable" his role would be discovered. Wilson, the judge said, admitted a lesser role, and despite intially denying that she remained at the scene when the bin lid was taped down, she had since expressed remorse, but described her behaviour as "disgraceful".
Lau, who Judge Kerr said instigated taping the bin lid down by buying the tape and who suggested it was "funny" and a "prank", also came before the court with criminal convictions.
After sentence was passed, all three were taken back in to custody and were led away from the dock just yards from where Adam sat in the public gallery with his family.