A man was jailed yesterday for four years over what a judge has described as a "terrifying" and "unprovoked" assault on a male with a poker and a hurley in west Belfast.
Ciaran McDonnell (22), of Queens Quarter Housing, University Street in the south of the city, had previously pleaded guilty to charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and possessing a class C drug.
Belfast Crown Court heard that on July 25, 2018, the injured party was making his way to a petrol station at the junction of Finaghy Road North and Andersonstown Road in west Belfast when he came across McDonnell.
It was the prosecution case that McDonnell shouted at him "fair dig" and threw a punch at the victim. He ducked out of the way and threw a punch back at McDonnell in self-defence before walking into the petrol station.
The court heard McDonnell "pursued" his victim into the petrol station before dragging him outside and "putting him to the ground" before he stamped at him.
The victim was repeatedly hit by McDonnell with the hurley while his co-accused hit him with the poker to the head and body.
As a result of the attack, he sustained a bleed to the head, and lacerations and bruising to his head, body and arms along with blurred vision.
When questioned by police, McDonnell claimed he had "little memory" of the incident as he had consumed a quantity of Xanax tablets.
Sentencing yesterday by remote link, Judge Stephen Fowler QC noted that among the aggravating features was that it was an "unprovoked attack" by two men against one and the violence used involved a poker and a hurley.
"The attack was sustained, persistent and determined, showing little mercy to the victim," said Judge Fowler.
He added: "It is clear to me that this defendant intended to cause much more serious harm than he actually managed to inflict. This was must have been a terrifying experience for the two female shop assistants and the customer."
The Probation Service assessed McDonnell as a high likelihood of reoffending but did not assess him as posing a danger to the public in the future.
Sentencing McConnell to a four-year determinate custodial sentence, Judge Fowler said the defendant would spend half of it in prison and the remaining two years on supervised licence on his release.