Derry man jailed for assaulting victim with a bottle of Buckfast

Bishop Street courthouse.
Bishop Street courthouse.

A man could spend more than a decade in prison after being sentenced for striking a man with a bottle of Buckfast.

The injured party sustained ‘quite serious injuries’ in the assault, including a fractured cheekbone and a large wound which required 20 stitches.

Barry Gordon Whittle received a five years sentence for the incident. This sentence was made consecutive to a six years sentence the 36-year-old received earlier this year for a one punch assault in a Waterside bar.

Whittle, who has been assessed as posing a significant risk of causing serious harm, was also made subject to an extended licence period.

This means that Whittle’s date of release will be a matter for the Parole Commissioner.

Derry Crown Court Judge Philip Babington also imposed a Violent Offenders’ Prevention Order for a period of five years.

Whittle, of Fallowlea Park, pleaded guilty to one charge of wounding in the early hours of November 27, 2015.

The court heard the injured party went to an address in The Old Fort area of Strathfoyle during the early hours of the morning after receiving a phone call. It was accepted that a number of phone calls had been received by the victim before he went to this address.

The victim said he was assaulted as soon as he got out of the car. He said Whittle struck him with the bottle and then two other men arrived and joined in the assault.

It was revealed the defendant also sustained injuries during the incident but these were not serious.

Whittle was arrested in hospital a couple of hours later.

During interview, he claimed the injured party was the initial aggressor.

The defendant claimed the injured party had struck him a number of times with a wheel brace.

He denied having the bottle of ‘Buckfast’ and denied that he caused the injuries to the complainant.

The court heard that a bottle of ‘Buckfast’ was found at the scene.

It had been smashed by the time police arrived, however the injured party’s blood was found on it as well as Whittle’s DNA.

A wheel brace was also found at the scene and it was accepted this was ‘consistent’ with the defendant’s explanation.

Defence counsel Billy McCrory, Q.C. said his client has expressed remorse for ‘lashing out’ with the bottle and ‘feels bad’ about it.

He added Whittle ‘doesn’t think the injured party deserved the injuries inflicted upon him.’

The barrister said the his client suffers from mental health issues and sustained a brain injury a number of years ago.

He added Whittle also has problems with alcohol and drug use which he ‘needs to address.’

Passing sentence, Judge Babington sai d he is ‘quite satisfied’ the risk Whittle poses of causing serious harm ‘is real.’

He said the defendant had a record in the North, the South and in Scotland.

The judge added Whittle has 100 previous convictions, including 18 for assault; four for serious assault and three for possessing offensive weapons.