Hated Rathcoole man gets two years
A LEADING loyalist was downing a bottle of whiskey a day when he beat his terrified wife to a pulp outside their home.
Hated taxi driver Thompson Beckett was jailed for two years on Friday after pleading guilty to a string of violent assaults on Dawn Higgins — the mother of his teenage son.
The judge revealed Ms Higgins suffered post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the domestic violence attacks by the drink and drug addict.
The full details of the horrific attacks can now be revealed, along with how the 44-year-old used his links to UVF figures in Newtownabbey to intimidate his frightened victim.
Self-confessed drug addict Beckett was arrested and charged in October 2020 after showing up outside Dawn’s Dunanney Avenue home in the Rathcoole estate in Newtownabbey.
Shocked neighbours phoned the police after the bully boy was seen trailing her onto the street by the hair and punching her in the face, leaving injuries that required stitches and dental surgery.
He was eventually charged with another four assaults on Dawn on dates between June and October 2020. Two of the worst occurred after an Eleventh Night bonfire when Beckett arrived home drunk and beat his wife mercilessly.
Sources say that as well as terrorising Dawn the thug would also try and intimidate others. He was close to UVF leaders in Newtownabbey, but they later turned on him and subjected him to a punishment-style assault not connected to the domestic violence. It was after this that Beckett’s aura of invincibility disappeared, with locals seeing him for what he is — a misogynistic coward.
Lifelong friends also turned on him after it emerged he tried to avoid the UVF beating by naming them as drug dealers.
“Beckett was summoned to a meeting in a social club by the UVF and given a bad beating, he was so scared he wet himself,” a loyalist source told Sunday Life.
“Before he was assaulted he named half-a-dozen people as drug dealers, people who would have been lifelong friends, to save his own skin. A few of these guys were fined by the UVF and forced to hand over thousands of pounds. Beckett has been a leper among them since.”
When Beckett was remanded in custody last December having pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife, his former friends hung a banner in Rathcoole quoting lyrics and mocking him.
It read: “It will be lonley (sic) this Christmas. Thompsan (sic) Beckett, ha-ha-ha.”
Our source added: “There are very few people in Newtownabbey who have any sympathy for him. Thompson Beckett is nothing more than a woman-beating scumbag.”
Despite being widely hated, Beckett managed to find two people to write letters in support of him which were referenced in court when he was sentenced last Friday.
They were from his mother Margaret Cousins and charity worker Brian Kerr who runs the Listening Ear mental health organisation in Rathcoole.
Beckett started volunteering for the group around the same time as he was charged with assaulting his wife, a move that was looked on cynically by local loyalists.
One told us: “Beckett was showing up with groceries at the homes of vulnerable people who were isolating because of Covid.
“They were shocked to see someone charged with beating his wife at their front doors. There is a feeling that he was volunteering only to help his case.”
As well as being jailed for two years Thompson Beckett was ordered by Belfast Crown Court to spend a further two years on probation after his release in late 2023.
Sentencing him the judge revealed the horrific domestic violence he inflicted on Dawn Higgins has left her with mental injuries including post-traumatic stress disorder along with physical scars.
It was revealed that Beckett is a drug and alcohol addict who was drinking a bottle of whiskey a day prior to his arrest.
Despite expressing remorse for his actions, a pre-sentence report found he has a high likelihood of reoffending, but does not present a significant risk to the wider public.