Jailed for ‘savage’ assault on friend

A man who admitted a ‘savage and unprovoked attack’ on a friend has been jailed for two years and four months.

Mark Howie, of Sperrin Park, Derry, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, false imprisonment and common assault.

The offences were committed between February 27 and March 3 at the 39-year-old’s flat in Tobermore.

Derry Crown Court heard that Howie and the victim had been friends since 2009.

Howie invited the man to stay in his flat in Tobermore. On the day the victim arrived they went to a bar across the road and consumed alcohol in Howie’s flat.

The following morning they went to the off-licence as soon as it opened and began drinking vodka. Later that night the injured party was lying on the sofa when he was kicked in the face with what were described as ‘proper working boots’.

It was revealed a number of sectarian comments were made towards the victim. He was then dragged about the room and into the kitchen, where he was told by Howie to sit in the corner on the floor.

The 39-year-old kicked the injured party in the ribs and made further sectarian comments.

The court heard Howie also told the man ‘you are in my house, you are not going to hospital you have been taken hostage’.

Howie locked the door, removed the door handle and threatened to hit the victim with it. He also wielded a screwdriver at a stage.

When Howie fell asleep, the injured party looked for a pair of pliers to open the door but when he couldn’t find any he went to asleep as well.

The following morning Howie was apologetic and they began drinking again. However, the court heard the 39-year-old became ‘irrational’ and slapped the man in the face.

As a result of the assaults the injured party sustained a fractured nose and extensive swelling and bruising to his face.

Jailing Howie, Judge Philip Babington said it was a ‘savage and unprovoked assault’ however he said he did ‘not believe it was motivated by sectarianism’.

The 39-year-old will spend one year and two months in custody with the remaining one year and two months spent on licence.