Belfast Telegraph

Man (21) awaiting attempted murder sentence told case too serious for bail

By Ashleigh McDonald

A 21-year-old who is facing a lengthy prison sentence for attempting to murder a man in Banbridge in a "very serious and unpleasant attack" was refused bail yesterday.

Michael Loughlin launched the application at Belfast Crown Court to "demonstrate he can desist from crime" and abide by court orders in the six-week period until he is sentenced.

From Iveagh Close in Banbridge, Loughlin is currently in custody on remand and will be sentenced next month for the attempted murder of a local man who was beaten unconscious in July last year.

Telling the court the attack was so severe that "one would expect him to be dead", Crown prosecutor Ian Tannahill said the injured party sustained multiple facial fractures, including broken eye sockets, and will be undergoing surgery for his injuries "for some time".

Mr Tannahill also revealed the attack -which occurred in the Scarva Walk area of Banbridge on the afternoon of July 21, 2017 - was caught on CCTV, and that during the "prolonged and violent attack", the victim was kicked and punched repeatedly on the ground.

Opposing bail, the prosecutor said: "He was kicked and stamped to the head repeatedly and it's clear this was continuing after the stage where he was incapable of putting up any form of defence whatsoever.

"It goes on for several minutes and a co-accused becomes distressed at what he is witnessing, despite having engaged in it initially.

"At one stage, he (Loughlin) ran up to kick him in the head again, as if he is taking a penalty in football and slides on the blood on the concrete."

Telling Judge McCaffrey that Loughlin has a history of breaching court orders - and was under a suspended sentence and one month into a probation order when he carried out the attack - Mr Tannahill said Loughlin had "no regard" for such orders.

Pointing out Loughlin is facing a lengthy prison sentence after admitting the charge of attempted murder, Mr Tannahill told the judge bail was opposed on several grounds, including fears he would abscond and also commit further offences.

A defence barrister accepted the incident and subsequent CCTV footage was "disturbing", but said his client's guilty plea demonstrated his acceptance of the seriousness of the attack.

It was fortunate that the victim's injuries "were not as bad as the violence that was meted out upon him", and the barrister revealed Loughlin had "little memory" of what he did, as he was under the influence or drink and drugs, but "accepts entirely that in September a significant sentence will be imposed".

The barrister said the application for bail was to "try and prove to everybody" that he could abide by any court conditions imposed, which would include liaising with external agencies and a community addiction nurse.

"He wants to demonstrate to everybody before he is sentenced that he has learned his lesson," the barrister told Judge McCaffrey, adding "he is inviting the court to take a chance on him".

But Judge McCaffrey said: "This is much too serious a matter for someone to be released on bail and be at large in the community. I am refusing bail."

Loughlin is due to be sentenced at Newry Crown Court on September 19.

Belfast Telegraph

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