Belfast Telegraph

Journalism student given probation after 'randomly' attacking strangers

Eoin Killen was also ordered to pay £100 compensation.
Eoin Killen was also ordered to pay £100 compensation.

By Alan Erwin

A journalism student who randomly attacked two strangers on a night out has been given 18 months probation.

Eoin Killen was also ordered to pay £100 compensation to both the man and woman he drunkenly targeted in south Belfast.

The 19-year-old, of Abbery Park in Armagh, admitted two counts of common assault and criminal damage to a tee-shirt worn by one of the victims.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard Killen confronted them on Palestine Street as they walked home in the early hours of January 22.

A prosecution lawyer said neither of them knew the defendant, who became verbally abusive and threatened violence.

Killen allegedly punched the man up to four times before grabbing and ripping his tee-shirt.

"At one point he said to the female injured party 'I'm going to hit you, I don't care'," the prosecutor added.

Both victims managed to get back to their house, but were then pushed over a wall.

They made their way into the property while Killen remained outside, banging on the door for around five minutes.

When police arrested him he stated that he did not know the victims, expressing remorse for acting under the influence of alcohol.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall pointed out: "This was a completely random attack on two people."

Defence solicitor James Hanna disclosed that Killen is a journalism student at Belfast Metropolitan College.

He said his client had been drunk on the night of the assaults, and reacted badly to traumatic incidents in his own life.

"His behaviour was unacceptable, he apologised to both injured parties and since then he has cut down on his alcohol intake," Mr Hanna added.

Despite describing it as "a bad incident", Judge Bagnall acknowledged Killen's age and previous clear record.

Imposing 18 months probation, she also confirmed: "There will be £100 compensation to each injured party."

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