Belfast Telegraph

Man (63) jailed for assaulting in-law at Belfast christening party

By John Cassidy

A 63-year-old man has been jailed for assaulting an in-law at a christening party during which he struck him up to 15 times with punches and kicks.

Gordon William Lowry, of Castlerobin Road in east Belfast, was handed a sentence of four years and nine months and was told by a judge he will serve half in custody and half on licence following his release from prison after he pleaded guilty to one count of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

A prosecution lawyer told Belfast Crown Court that the defendant and his family were at a christening party in Balmoral Bowling Club on the Belvoir estate in September 2016.

Also present at the party was his son's former partner. Her father was present in the club but was not a guest at the christening event.

Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland watched CCTV footage of the attack which took place outside of the bowling club and in front of a mother and a young child.

Lowry was shown to throw 11 punches at his 48-year-old victim, with one punch striking him to the face, knocking him him down and striking his head on the ground.

The defendant was then seen kicking his hapless victim three times to the head and once to the abdomen as he lay prostrate on the ground.

The victim was taken to hospital unconscious and was found to have injuries to his temporal lobes and a fracture at the base of the skull. The victim's blood alcohol reading showed he was four times the drink drive limit.

The prosecution lawyer told the court: "It is absolutely clear that the serious injuries to the head were caused by the punches and not by the kicks.''

The court heard the row started after the victim "started making remarks about Mr Lowry's family''.

At police interview, Lowry was shown the CCTV footage, and replied: "I didn't realise I had hit him so many times.

"He wouldn't go away. I was asking him to go away but he refused. He was winding me up. I just wanted him out of my face. I didn't intend to hurt him.''

Defence counsel Charles McCreanor told the court: "This is the last thing Mr Lowry expected would happen at a christening party.

"It is clear for a relatively significant part of the time he tried to step away from matters, particularly as the victim appeared to be intoxicated. Provocation is a matter that the court should consider.

"He deeply regrets what has happened and this incident has had a significant impact on him. He expects nothing less than a custodial sentence.''

Judge McFarland said that it was clear from the CCTV footage that the victim had "consumed a significant amount of alcohol and had been acting in a provocative manner'' towards Lowry.

"Clearly there was a trigger comment or trigger statement by him and you have then come after him.''

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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