Belfast Telegraph

Man almost sliced off ear in Christmas Eve burglary in Belfast

A 28-year-old man has been found guilty of almost slicing another man's ear off in a Christmas Eve attack in east Belfast
A 28-year-old man has been found guilty of almost slicing another man's ear off in a Christmas Eve attack in east Belfast

By Ashleigh McDonald

A 28-year-old man has been found guilty of almost slicing another man's ear off in a Christmas Eve attack in east Belfast.

After a week-long trial at the city's Crown Court, a jury found Carl Gillespie guilty of aggravated burglary inflicting grievous bodily harm on the occupant, and of assaulting the victim's mother.

Gillespie denied he was one of two men involved in a fracas at a property on Castlereagh Street on December 24, 2017.

The seven women and five men deliberated for several hours yesterday, before returning unanimous guilty verdicts on both charges. Both Gillespie and co-accused Michael McMurray, who admitted his involvement at an earlier hearing, will be sentenced in February.

During the trial, the jury heard that four people were present in the property when McMurray and Gillespie pushed their way in and launched an attack with weapons.

An older man was struck several times on the head with a hammer brandished by McMurray, and after a struggle ensued a younger male occupant was then slashed on the cheek and ear with a Stanley knife wielded by Gillespie.

He was taken to hospital with his ear "almost hanging off."

The wounded man's mother was also assaulted. She fought back, launched a counter-attack with part of a vacuum cleaner and the two intruders fled.

Gillespie later claimed he was watching films in his mother's house at the time, but this alibi was rejected by his mother.

He was remanded into custody ahead of sentencing.

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