Derry man left ‘unresponsive and bleeding from the ears’ in one punch assault, court told

Court
Court

The victim of a one punch assault at the weekend remains in a critical but stable condition, a court has heard.

Derry Magistrates Court was told the assault allegedly occurred after an argument about training.

Andrew McLaughlin, of Northland Road, is charged with causing grievous bodily harm in the early hours of January 10.

The 34-year-old handed himself into police and made full admissions to hitting the injured party once.

The court heard he was very remorseful about the incident during police interview.

He claimed he was in the smoking area of Pitchers and had a conversation with the injured party about training.

McLaughlin told police the man accused him of taking steroids.

He stepped towards the man, but was prevented from doing anything further by friends.

The 34-year-old claimed the injured party ‘smirked’ at him as he walked away and this ‘annoyed him’.

McLaughlin told police he saw the man in one of the function rooms a short time later.

He said he tapped him on the shoulder and punched him once with a closed fist.

The injured party was initially taken to Altnagelvin Hospital where he was found to be ‘unresponsive and bleeding from the ears’.

He was then transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital because his condition had deteriorated and was ‘life threatening’.

An investigating officer opposed bail because police still need to speak to a number of potential eye witnesses.

She confirmed that CCTV evidence had been obtained which appeared to corroborate McLaughlin’s account.

However, she added this did not show the actual assault.

Defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott said his client did not intend to cause any serious harm to the injured party.

He told the court McLaughlin does not have a propensity for violence and would gain nothing from attempting to speak to witnesses.

The solicitor added that the 34-year-old father of four has no animosity towards the injured party and has expressed concern about his condition.

District Judge Barney McElholm said this case ‘points out that one punch is meaningless. People should realise that one punch can kill or seriously injure’.

The judge then queried ‘why people feel the need to bring violence into arguments or discussions’.

He released McLaughlin on his own bail of £750 to reside with his partner in Shanreagh Park.

The 34-year-old is banned from consuming alcohol, must abide by a curfew and is banned from talking to any witnesses with the exception of his partner.

The defendant is also banned from entering the Rosemount and Creggan areas of the city.

He will appear in court again on February 4.