Trio jailed for four years for ‘vicious assault’

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66
Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

Three members of the same family who admitted a ‘vicious assault’ have been jailed for four years.

Paul McLaughlin Senior, 50, and his son 26-year-old Paul McLaughlin Junior, both of Ballycolman Estate, Strabane, and 24-year-old Karl O’Hagan, of Glenowen Park, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm.

They also admitted wounding two men with intent to do them grievous bodily harm.

The offences were committed in Kular Court on October 23, last year.

CCTV of the incident was played to Derry Crown Court of the assaults, which took place in hallways of

the apartment complex.

The court was told McLaughlin Snr was drinking with the injured party’s in one of the flats. In the early hours of the morning there were comments made about his daughter which he ‘took exception to’.

All three came out of the flat into a corridor and a scuffle ensued. McLaughlin Snr fell to the ground during the scuffle and sustained

minor injuries.

He was helped up by the two men and they could be seen talking to one another, before going back into the flat.

Around five minutes later McLaughlin Snr left and returned to his own flat.

An hour and a half later the McLaughlin’s and O’Hagan went to the injured party’s flat.

McLaughlin Snr had a fire extinguisher with him and he sprayed it when the

door was opened.

One of the injured party’s was assaulted by McLaughlin Snr and the other was assaulted by McLaughlin

Jnr and O’Hagan.

A broken hurley bat was used during the assault, however the court heard this was not brought by any of

the defendants.

One of the injured party’s sustained a number of injuries including bruising to his temple and three wounds to his scalp which required a total of 15 staples.

The second injured party lost consciousness during the assault and sustained a laceration to his face which required staples. He also sustained an orbital fracture, a fracture to his cheekbone and had to have surgery on his nose.

Jailing the three defendants, Judge Philip Babington said ‘aggravated burglary and wounding are very serious charges’ and the injuries sustained by the victims

‘are serious’.

He said there was an element of pre-meditation in the assault and the McLaughlin’s and O’Hagan had gone to the injured party’s flat ‘for retribution of some sort’.

The judge said the case was ‘particularly tragic’ as ‘if it was not for alcohol this incident would never have occurred’.

He added the injured party’s sustained a ‘vicious beating for no real reason and one can only hope they recover’.

Judge Babington imposed determinate sentences of four years for each defendant, half of which will be spent in custody and half on licence.