sundaylife

| 9.1°C Belfast

Thug who beat up Antrim three-year-old spared jail

Close

Gary Moore was given the probation order.

Gary Moore was given the probation order.

Gary Moore was given the probation order.

This is the heartless thug who beat up a three-year-old boy, breaking his collar bone, but has managed to avoid jail.

Conan Begley’s father told Sunday Life his son still suffers nightmares about the attack, which left him in hospital for three days.

Last week Gary Moore was given a probation order after pleading guilty to brutally assaulting the child and his mother at her home. The attack happened while Moore was alone with Conan for only around 20 minutes while his mother nipped out.

Antrim man Conor Begley told the newspaper: “In my eyes he’s got no punishment, basically he’s been told he has to be good for the next three years but he should be good anyway.”

The attack happened in January 2017 but it was only last week that Moore (30) was sentenced for the sick child beating.

Recalling the events of the terrible night, Conor said: “Conan went to hospital and I got word and when I got to the hospital and he wasn’t speaking to anybody, he was just in a stare.

“I immediately broke down. When Conan saw me, that was when he started to react; before that apparently he was just frozen.

“The first word out of his mouth was ‘Dad’, then he started crying and I started crying, then I just started reassuring him.

“There was bruising all over his torso, there was a bruise on his left collar bone which later turned out to be a fracture.

“His whole backside area was just purple, like one big bruise, and there was bruising and swelling over his left eye and left-hand side of his head.

“He also has a torn frenulum, which is that wee bit of skin between your top lip and gum, and I think there was what was described as drag marks under his arms and on the front of his neck.

“Since then, Conan has been diagnosed with moderate learning difficulties and I think it niggles away at Conan in his head,” explained Conor.

“He wouldn’t always talk about it, he does talk about it now and then but all I can really do is reassure him.

“Conan would be one to talk in his sleep and he talks about him (Moore) as ‘the stranger’ and he talks about having to hide in the stranger’s house. It’s hard to listen to.

“Gary had been alone with my son for about 15 to 20 minutes but he denied hitting him.

“He said he was standing at the back door having a smoke and he heard a thump upstairs and he went up to check on Conan and said he was climbing back into bed and didn’t seem distressed.”

At Antrim Crown Court on Wednesday, Moore was sentenced to three years’ probation after admitting one charge of maliciously wounding Conan and a single count of unlawful assault on his mother.

Under the order, Moore must not stay in the same house with anyone under the age of 18 without the approval of his probation officer. He must also attend all appointments arranged with any psychiatrist, psychologist, counsellor or medical practitioner and co-operate fully with any care or treatment they recommend.

Moore must also not develop any intimate relationships without first notifying his probation officer, who will take appropriate steps to ensure verifiable disclosure has been made and liaise with Social Services in respect of child protection concerns, if appropriate.

The order further states he must engage in “any programme of work recommended by his supervising officer, designated to reduce any risk he may present, and to attend and co-operate in assessments by probation as to his suitability for programmes and other offence-focused work”.

Please log in or register with belfasttelegraph.co.uk for free access to this article.

Already have an account?

Belfast Telegraph