Two men jailed for Christmas Day attack

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

Two Polish men resident in Derry have been jailed at the local Magistrate’s Court for an unprovoked and ‘inexplicable’ attack on a home in the city on Christmas Day.

Patryk Marek Hoffrichter (22) of Queen’s Court and Michel Krzysztor Lipice (35) of Pine Street both in Derry admitted the attack and also an incident of criminal damage at the Iceland store in the city that resulted in damage estimated at more than £5,000.

The court heard that around 5.20 p.m. on Christmas Day police were called to a report of two plate glass windows being smashed in the Iceland store in Foyleside.

CCTV showed three men involved with two of them kicking the glass and smashing it.

While police were there they received a report of an ongoing disturbance in the Chamberlain Street area involving men fitting the description of those involved in the first incident.

The first injured party told police he was sitting at home with his mother and a friend when there was a knock at the door.

There were three men there who he didn’t know speaking a foreign language who tried to push past him.

He pushed them back but Lipice grabbed him and swung him around causing damage to shelves and ornaments.

Hoffrichter punched the man.

The boy’s mother who is registered blind then came out and saw Lipice punching her son and then turning and punching her in the face twice.

The men then left.

Another witness told police of hearing a commotion in the street and coming out and seeing three men who he challenged.

He then followed them down the street before police arrived.

At interview both Lipice and Hoffrichter admitted the criminal damage to the window but were unable to recall anything else due to their level of intoxication.

Defence barrister for Lipice, Mr. Stephen Mooney said it was ‘inexplicable’ why they men had done this as they had no connection with this family.

He said on the day had drunk ‘an inordinate amount of alchol’ but added that it was ‘unlikely’ Lidice would ever appear in court again.

Barrister for Hoffrichter Mr. Ciaran Roddy said the whole incident was ‘highly regrettable’ and added that his client was ‘remorseful’.

He said his client should have been with his family but instead was involved in this ‘completely bizarre incident.’

District Judge Barney McElholm said: “There are some cases crying out for an immediate custodial sentence and this is one of them.

“These two voluntarily drank themselves into a hopeless stupor and drank a hideous amount of spirits.”

The judge said they may have been drinking in the family home but ‘they were an universe away from their families.’

He said that the attack on a family home on Christmas Day was ‘hard to fathom’ and said that ‘ordinary decent people had had their Christmas ruined.

He jailed Hoffrichter for 6 months and Lidice for 8 months and ordered them both to pay £200 in compensation.