Man jailed for racist unprovoked attack

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66
Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

A 24-year-old who admitted an ‘unprovoked, racist and disgraceful attack’ on a black man has been jailed for a total of 15 months.

Derry Magistrates Court heard the injured party sustained a wound to his mouth during the assault which required 22 stitches.

Thomas Deane, of Argyle Terrace, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, possession of a knife and lump hammer and common assault.

He admitted further charges of assault on police and disorderly behaviour on April 27.

The 24-year-old also pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour relating to an incident in the Crawford Square area in September last year.

The court heard that residents in Argyle Terrace approached Deane because he was walking around with a bottle in his hand and making a lot of noise.

One resident asked him to keep the noise down and the 24-year-old approached him with clenched fists and pushed him.

Deane also ‘swung at him wildly’ with clenched fists.

A number of neighbours came out to assist and one of them, a black man, asked Deane to leave the area.

The court heard Deane told the man to ‘f*** off’, called him a ‘n*****’ and punched him to the mouth.

The injured party was also grabbed and pushed to the ground.

Deane ran off but returned to the area a short time later.

When police arrived, he gestured towards them and officers saw the handle of a hammer protruding from his tracksuit.

Deane told police ‘I am going to knock your f****** heads off’ and took the hammer out of his pocket.

Police restrained him and they found a large kitchen knife down the back of his tracksuit bottoms.

As he was arrested, the 24-year-old kicked out at police and attempted to head butt an officer.

He told the police ‘I will eat your f****** heart out and your sister’s heart’ and made a similar reply after caution.

It was revealed Deane is in breach of a number of suspended sentence and a deferred sentence.

Defence counsel Steven Mooney said his client has been in custody for five and a half months.

Jailing Deane, District Judge Barney McElholm said Deane has a record for violence and had been given opportunities by the court to ‘reform himself’.

He said the assault was ‘unprovoked, racist and disgraceful’ and the sentence was to reflect the community’s ‘abhorrence of any racist behaviour, let alone an extremely violent racist attack.’

The judge added the court ‘will not tolerate any form of racist abuse or racist attacks’.