Appeal against hammer attack on Catholic man is rejected

Paul McGarrigle
Paul McGarrigle

A community worker who carried out an unprovoked sectarian hammer attack has failed in a bid to have his prison sentence reduced.

Lawyers for Paul McGarrigle claimed in the Court of Appeal that the eight-year term imposed for the assault at a house in Derry was too heavy.

But senior judges dismissed the challenge after finding nothing wrong with the sentence handed down.

McGarrigle, 42, had pleaded guilty to charges including attempted grievous bodily harm with intent and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

A previous court heard how he and a number of other men forced their way into a house in Ebrington Street just days before Christmas 2012.

They shouted sectarian abuse at a lone Catholic man before beating him unconscious, punching and kicking him as well as attacking him with a hammer.

The victim received serious head and facial injuries.

In January McGarrigle, formerly of Foyle Crescent, Newbuildings, was ordered to serve four years in custody and another four on licence.

The judge described it as an “appalling” and unprovoked sectarian attack.

Defence lawyers for McGarrigle contested the sentence on the basis that he should have got a lower term for a guilty plea. But following an appeal hearing on Friday Mr Justice Weatherup, sitting with Lord Justices Girvan and Coghlin, rejected their challenge.