Jailed for 12 years for ‘horrendous’ assaults

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.
Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.

The victim of an assault sustained ‘catastrophic injuries’ which has affected his ability to lead a normal life, a court has heard.

The man was one of two people attacked by 38-year-old Martin John Neeson in separate incidents in 2016.

He sustained a traumatic brain injury as a result of the assault and requires assistance with everyday life.

Neeson, whose address was given on court papers as Magowan Park, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and assaulting police on March 28, 2016 and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to the second man on August 28, 2016.

The 38-year-old was jailed for a total of 12 years at Derry Crown Court. He was also made subject to a three year extended licence period and a violent offences prevention order.

The court heard Neeson attacked the first man after a house party in Newbuildings.

The men had words with each other and the injured party left the property. Neeson followed the injured party home and attacked him as he lay sleeping on a sofa.

He used a knife to inflict multiple lacerations on the victim.

The second incident occurred at a property in Magowan Park while the 38-year-old was subject to bail conditions.

Emergency services received a report of an assault in the early hours of the morning and that the victim was ‘probably dead’.

The victim was found to have a very serious head injury. He was unconscious, his breathing was laboured and he was bleeding from the nose, mouth and ears.

The hallway was covered in blood and the floor, walls and ceiling of the living room had blood spatter.

Neeson was found in the kitchen and he was heavily bloodstained.

The defendant claimed he had been sexually assaulted, had punched the injured party with both hands and he fell down the stairs.

Passing sentence, Judge Philip Babington said the defendant’s culpability and the harm caused by him are ‘high in both cases’.

He said the first assault was ‘sustained and repeated’ and there was ‘a degree of pre-meditation’.

The judge added that the assault was aggravated by the fact a weapon, namely a knife, was used.

Judge Babington said the second case involved “a sustained assault carried out in nearly every area of the house and which must have lasted for some time. It is also clear that the defendant must have deliberately caused more harm than was necessary in the circumstances of what is known about what occurred that night.”

The judge said these were ‘two incidents of quite horrendous violence perpetrated against two persons, one of whom had been left with life changing injuries’.