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Belfast chef who broke man's jaw in row over parking avoids jail

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Belfast Crown Court (Niall Carson/PA)

Belfast Crown Court (Niall Carson/PA)

Belfast Crown Court (Niall Carson/PA)

A chef who broke the jaw of a Russian man in a row over street parking narrowly avoided going to jail on Friday.

Ciaran Murray (32) of Powerscourt Place in Belfast, received a 12 month prison sentence suspended for three years after he pleaded guilty to a charge of grievous bodily harm.

The charge related to an incident on November 24, 2018, when the victim parked his car outside Murray's home.

Murray complained to the man about parking outside his front door. A neighbour offered to let the victim park outside her home but he declined.

Belfast Crown Court heard Murray started to argue with the man. As Murray walked away he called the injured party a "f***ing a***hole''.

The victim and his wife start speaking in Russian and Murray said to them: "What language are you f***ing talking in?'' The man replied: "Shut up.''

The prosecution case was that at this point Murray started to "violently shake'' the man before he broke free and pushed the defendant.

His wife told police that her husband was then on the ground with Murray "kicking and punching him'' before he went unconscious.

The injured party was taken to hospital where it was discovered he had sustained a broken jaw in the assault and also a fracture to his right ankle, likely to have been caused by a fall to the ground.

Murray was arrested two months later and claimed he was assaulted first and had acted in "self defence''.

Judge Stephen Fowler QC said Murray worked as a chef, was in a stable relationship and although he believed the assault was out of character, he added: "In my view you have an anger management problem.''

The judge said the attack came a month after Murray disclosed an incident of trauma from his childhood to his family and as a result complained of "low mood and anxiety''.

Judge Fowler said he accepted that Murray's remorse was "genuine''and the injury inflicted was "beyond what was intended''.

The judge said the appropriate sentence was one of 24 months, divided equally between custody and supervised licence.

However, Judge Fowler said that given that at the time Murray had just told his family and a medical professional about his childhood trauma and the impact prison would have on him during the Coronavirus pandemic, he had decided to suspend the 12 month sentence for three years.

The judge warned Murray: "If you lose your temper or involve yourself in any offence whether it is violent or not, you will be brought back to court and sentenced for that offence and that will be put on top of this 12 months sentence.''

Belfast Telegraph