Man jailed for assaulting couple

A man who assaulted an elderly couple outside their home has been jailed for two years and five months.

Jonathan McCusker, whose address was given on court papers as Blackstaff Mews, Belfast, pleaded guilty to the assaults on June 20 last year.

Derry Crown Court heard the injured party went out of his house to help a neighbour who had asked a group of youths to stop driving a scooter in the area. The group started pushing and shoving the man, who is in his 60’s.

The 20-year-old began throwing punches at the man and pushed him to the ground. The injured party’s wife also came out of the house and she was grabbed by McCusker and put to the ground.

It was revealed that while he was on the ground the man was kicked at least twice, once to his body and once to his head. He sustained fractured ribs and was in ‘pain and discomfort’ for weeks after the assault.

The court heard McCusker left the scene but returned 15 minutes later, shouted threats and confronted the injured party’s son-in-law with a knife.

McCusker has 32 previous convictions and has been abusing alcohol and drugs since the age of 12.

Passing sentence, Judge Phillip Babington said it was a “quite disgraceful incident. A mindless mob type assault on a man old enough to be the defendant’s grandfather”.

He added the injured party “was only trying to help his neighbour” and McCusker’s behaviour was “cowardly and bullying”.

The judge imposed a determinate sentence of two years five months, one year of which will be spent in custody and the remainder on licence.