Belfast Telegraph

Teenager who used broken bottle jailed after leaving victim with 14 lacerations

Judge McCormick noted the multiple injuries sustained and the lasting impact this will have on the now 19-year-old (stock photo)
Judge McCormick noted the multiple injuries sustained and the lasting impact this will have on the now 19-year-old (stock photo)

By Ashleigh McDonald

A teenager who stabbed a man with a broken beer bottle outside shops in a Co Antrim estate has been handed a seven-year prison sentence.

Thomas Burke (19) was jailed yesterday at Belfast Crown Court for the November 2017 attack on an 18-year-old which took place in Ballyduff.

Burke, whose address was given as Abbeyville Avenue, Port Talbot, Wales, admitted wounding the man with intent and possessing an offensive weapon.

He will spend half his sentence in prison, followed by the same period on licence when he is released.

Passing down the sentence, Judge RoseAnne McCormick QC told him: "You could have taken a young man's life in what was an appalling drink and drug-fuelled incident."

Belfast Crown Court heard the incident between Burke and the injured party - who were both 18 at the time - occurred following both verbal exchanges and messages on Facebook.

The injured man sustained a total of 14 lacerations across his torso, arms and face which has resulted in extensive scarring.

Judge McCormick noted the multiple injuries sustained and the lasting impact this will have on the now 19-year-old.

The judge said: "It is a tragedy that this young man is going to bear the marks of these 14 lacerations, just because one human being used a bottle on another human being to inflict these injuries."

Prior to sentencing, Belfast Crown Court heard the violent incident occurred at the shops on the Co Antrim estate on the night of November 4 into the hours of the following day.

Burke was with friends in Ballyduff, while the injured party had been drinking with friends in Glengormley.

A girl at the party in Ballyduff called the injured party on her phone and at some point Burke took the girl's phone and spoke to the injured party.

Witnesses attending the party at Ballyduff said Burke was "slabbering" down the phone, was aggressive and angry, and was seen lifting a pizza cutter from the kitchen - which he later put down.

Other revellers heard Burke say "I'm going to stab him", before leaving the party with his brother and a beer bottle in his hand.

Moments later, Burke and the injured man - who had drunk 15 bottles of beer - encountered each other at the shop front and, while both men gave differing accounts of what occurred next, a couple who live in the area heard a commotion at 2am.

The male resident went outside and saw "two boys fighting'"and the violence came to an end when the victim's bleeding was noticed and emergency services were called.

The injured man was treated in hospital for multiple slash wounds.

Burke - who also received hospital treatment for a laceration to his right hand - later claimed in a police interview that the pair met after a verbal exchange and messages sent via Facebook, in which the injured party offered him a "fair dig" outside the shops.

Burke also claimed he had been drinking from the bottle, and denied striking the other man with it, claiming the victim's injuries could have been sustained by him "rolling around" on broken glass.

But Prosecutor Rosemary Walsh rejected Burke's version of events, describing the incident as a short but "frenzied attack."

Defence barrister Luke Curran said his client has "absolutely no previous convictions" and revealed Burke was no longer living in Northern Ireland.

Mr Curran said his client displayed genuine remorse and "matters spiralled out of control" between the two parties, adding there was also a "significant disparity" between Burke's size and that of the injured party, who has a boxing background.

Sending Burke to prison, Judge McCormick noted that he later confessed to consuming both drink and drugs prior to the altercation, adding: "You knew there was going to be trouble at the Ballyduff shops and you used that bottle as a weapon."

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