Judge adds two years to Derry thug Whittle's jail sentence
A 36-year-old man assessed by the Probation Service as presenting a high risk of causing extreme violence to members of the public has been given an extended jail sentence at the Crown Court in Londonderry.
Barry Whittle from Clonmeen Drive in the Strathfoyle area of the city was given a four-year jail sentence for punching his drinking partner in a pub in Derry on August 17, 2014.
But Judge Elizabeth McCaffrey said she was adding an extra two years to the sentence because of Whittle's history of violence.
Judge McCaffrey also imposed - for the first time locally - a Violent Offences Prevention Order on Whittle.
That order will last for a three-year period when the prison licensing commissioners deem it is safe to release Whittle from jail.
Whittle was convicted by a jury earlier this year of assaulting a man in Duke's Bar in the Waterside just over three years ago.
In the single punch attack Whittle fractured the victim's skull causing bleeding to the brain, and fractured the victim's nose, cheekbone and eye socket.
Judge McCaffrey said that Whittle came before the court with a total of 67 criminal convictions. Eighteen of them were for assaults and four were for serious assaults.
She said Whittle had told the jury during his trial that he had acted in self-defence, but the jury did not accept that excuse. Judge McCaffrey said as well as having 67 previous convictions in Northern Ireland, Whittle also had convictions for crimes of violence in the Republic, England and Wales.
The maximum sentence for the single punch assault is seven years. Judge McCaffrey said she was satisfied that the appropriate sentence should be one of four years, with the two-year custodial extension.