Raging bullies: the Antrim dad and sons who battered young mum to a pulp in field
Cowardly father and his two sons battered a young mum in a field, writes Ciaran Barnes
This is the family of bullies who battered a young mum senseless just five weeks after she gave birth to a baby girl.
Mary Reid, 33, was left covered in bruises and shaking with fear after the gang assault by a father and two sons nicknamed the ‘Neighbours from Hell'.
The woman beaters are:
- Coward 1: Kenny Baxter, 66, who pummelled Mary with a stick;
- Coward 2: Rory Baxter, 34, who stamped on Mary's face;
- Coward 3: Paul Baxter, 29, who punched her in the face.
At Antrim Crown Court two weeks ago the lying trio were convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm after a nine day trial.
On Thursday past they were back before the same judge to plead guilty to battering Mary on a second occasion.
The Baxters also admitted assaulting cancer victim Mary Mulvenna, who has since died, Desmond Mulvenna and Emma Mulvenna in a third assault.
They now face the prospect of jail when they are sentenced on April 27.
Grumpy foul-mouthed pensioner Kenny Baxter — a regular at Glenarm Presbyterian Church — and his two hothead sons are well known in the Larne area, where they own a sprawling farm on the Feystown Road.
Mary Reid — the woman who they mercilessly attacked on two different occasions — lives with her relatives on adjoining land.
The families do not get on, with the source for much of the tension being a a dispute over the ownership of a field and a laneway that offer access to both their farms. In April 2011 this disagreement reached a head when Kenny, Rory and Paul Baxter launched a vicious assault on Mary who had given birth to daughter Annie just a month earlier.
They beat her to a pulp in a field after deliberately sending a dog onto her land to scare a herd of cows.
In January 2012 the Baxters attacked the Co Antrim woman a second time.
Ignoring the fact she was six months pregnant they left her lying on a laneway covered in bruises.
Two years on from the first beating and the wounds that Mary was left with have healed, however the mental scars remain. “The Baxters are nothing but bullies, all three of them. They really are the neighbours from hell,” Mary told Sunday Life.
“What sort of men hit a woman, especially one who has just had a baby?
“They are cowards, and being a pensioner you would think Kenny Baxter would know better.
“I was left with bruises all over my face and chest after they attacked me.”
The first attack came after the Baxters' dog was deliberately thrown into one of Mary Reid’s fields in which she was herding cattle that had recently gave birth.
The sight of a border collie running around their calves panicked the cows leading them to run amok.
Worried for the safety of her livestock Mary used her mobile phone to take photos of the mayhem before rushing after the dog and gathering it in her arms.
It was then that she was met with the sight of cowardly Rory Baxter who accused her of hurting the dog.
“Rory threw me to the ground and stamped in my face,” explained Mary.
“Then Paul Baxter joined in — he was pulling my hair and kicking me.
“I was shouting at them to leave me alone, and that I had just had a baby, but they didn't care.”
The Baxter brothers dragged Mary across the field to a fence that separates their land from her property.
They then tried to haul her over the wire divide and when she fought back she was battered by a crazed Kenny Baxter.
Ignoring her pleas for mercy the violent pensioner hit her with a fibreglass stick.
When the Baxters realised that they were unable to get Mary onto their land they gave up and skulked back to their home.
But before returning a crazed Kenny shouted a sinister warning: “That's you out of Feystown”.
What the dopey father and sons did not realise is that quick-thinking Mary had photographed them threatening her on her mobile phone.
The pictures formed a key part of the prosecution evidence against them at their recent trial.
In keeping with their cowardly demeanour dad Kenny and brothers Rory and Paul refused to give evidence to the court.
But they forced their helpless victim Mary Reid to take the stand and re-live the nightmare assault they put her through.
After nine days of evidence the jury just took three hours to find the Baxters guilty.
Mary told Sunday Life she felt vindicated by the verdict.
She added: “The court case proves I was telling the truth and the Baxters are liars.
“When they were arrested after the attack they were taken to Coleraine police station, but they refused to answer any questions.
“When they got out on bail the Baxters told everyone they were innocent and tried to make out I had invented everything.
“Now everyone knows what they're like — they are liars and bullies.”
Mary Reid says it is for the judge to decide what punishment to impose on the Baxters, who on Thursday pleaded guilty to a second attack on her in January 2012.
During the same court hearing they also admitted assaulting three members of the Mulvenna family — including elderly cancer sufferer Mary who has since died — in August 2011.
“The most important thing for me is that people know the truth,” said Mary Reid.
“I just want the Baxters to leave me alone so I can get on with my life. It's up to the judge to decide whether to send them to jail.”