A man who assaulted two girls ‘saw red’ after a group of youths gathered outside his home, a court has heard.
John Hepburn, whose address was given in court papers as College Mews, pleaded guilty to common assault on July 31.
Derry Magistrate’s Court was told that up to 12 youths had gathered outside the 51-year-old’s home in August.
His partner went out and asked the youths to move on.
A short time later, Hepburn came out of his house and assaulted a 12-years-old and a 13-years-old girl.
He grabbed one of them by the side of the neck leading her to believe he was going to strangle her.
Hepburn dug his nails into the girls neck and was also grabbing her hair.
The other girl attempted to intervene and he grabbed her by the face and neck with his other hand.
The court heard the assault lasted up to a minute before the girls got away.
Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley said is client ‘saw red’ after he and his partner were verbally abused by some of the youths.
He said Hepburn ‘deeply regret’ his behaviour but ‘lost control’ on this night.
Mr Quigley added the 51-year-old has no criminal record and has had to leave his home as a result of his bail conditions.
Deputy District Judge Austin Kennedy said he ‘suspects there is a history’ that the court is unaware of.
He said he is sure the defendant ‘regrets what happened and apologises entirely’.
The judge added the girls were frightened and Hepburn must ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Judge Kennedy fined Hepburn a total of £300 and ordered him to pay £100 compensation to each of the injured parties.