Belfast Telegraph

Thug told to have a good look at himself

By Nevin Farrell

A judge has told a Coleraine man to reflect on the harm caused by a doorstep attack he carried out that left two female neighbours "humiliated" and "traumatised".

Paul Ashley McQuilken received the advice after pleading guilty to two counts of assault and one charge of possessing cannabis at Coleraine Magistrates Court yesterday.

The 36-year-old was ordered to carry out 220 hours of community service.

The defendant was also ordered to pay his victims compensation totalling £700.

And he was made the subject of a two-year restraining order.

The court was told the hearing had been preceded by a failed judicial review aimed at raising the severity of the charges McQuilken would eventually face.

A defence barrister said a medical examination could not establish whether a "superficial" wound had been caused by a knife, as alleged by one of the victims.

A prosecution lawyer acknowledged they simply didn't know what caused the injury.

The judge clarified that no stabbing allegations were before the court.

Returning to the night in question, the court heard a verbal altercation began when victim Wendy Fleming opened the door of her house at Long Commons in Coleraine to the defendant.

The altercation became more serious when the accused pulled her hair and that of her friend Lisa Dobbin.

Ms Dobbin then sustained a "laceration to the abdomen" when she was pulled to the ground.

Ms Fleming was also pulled to the ground, receiving bruises to her leg and foot.

Defence barrister Alan Stewart acknowledged there had been suggestions a knife was involved in the incident.

But he added: "It was not clearly established and it did not feature in the outworking of the case."

Furthermore, he said the injury was treated by doctors as "a superficial cut" that had not required stitches. Mr Stewart said there had been "ongoing differences" between the defendant and the victims, but on the night in question "things got out of hand".

"He decided to speak with the neighbours and a scuffle ensued."

Sentencing McQuilken, Judge McNally said that the women had been "humiliated" and "fairly well traumatised".

He added: "While you complete these hours I want you to think about the harm you have inflicted upon these ladies."

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