17/12/2018

Five Men Jailed For Paramilitary Style Attack In Antrim

Five men have been jailed for a paramilitary style attack in Doagh, County Antrim last year, which the PSNI has described as a "vicious assault".

49-year-old Darren Moore, a former Irish League footballer, was attacked by a group of men wielding hammers, baseball bats and metal bars, in front of staff and customers at a public bar in the centre of Dough village on 15 March 2017.

Ten men are believed to have been involved in the brutal onslaught.

David Rush, 36, Joshua Wylie, 20, and Robert Harry Campbell, 33, pleaded guilty to Grevious Bodily Harm with intent.

Mr Rush was sentenced to six years, three years to be served in prison and three years on licence.

Mr Wylie was handed seven years, half of which are to be served in a Young Offenders' Centre and half on licence, while Mr Campbell a five and a half year sentence, 33 months to be served in custody and 33 months to be served on licence.

Aaron Norman Cahoon, 28, and David John Gibson, 45, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting GBH with intent and were sentenced to four and a half years each, half of which will be served in custody and half on licence.

Releasing CCTV footage of the assault, Detective Chief Inspector Dunny McCubbin from the PSNI's Criminal Investigation Branch welcomed the sentencing.

He said: "There can be no excuse for this prolonged and vicious assault which left the victim with serious injuries and would have been extremely frightening for the staff and customers who were in the bar and witnessed the attack. 
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"In many paramilitary style attacks, securing statements from victims can be a challenge for police as there is fear of reprisal. In this case, there was no co-operation from the victim and witnesses but our robust investigation successfully led to the prosecution of five men involved. This should act as a warning to anyone involved in the violence associated with paramilitarism that we will work tirelessly to put them in front of the courts. 

"The thugs responsible for this attack are hypocrites who think that they can act as judge, jury and executioner and they have no place in our society. They don't serve the best interests of the community and they gave no thought to the people witnessing the attack or the woman they man-handled as she intervened to try and save Darren's life."

Sentencing at Belfast Crown Court on Monday 17 December, Judge Desmond Marrninan revealed that the victim has been "involved in loyalist paramilitary activity" and the motive for the assault was "revenge" as he had fallen out with the group.

He added that the attack had "many elements of paramilitary punishment beating but the defendants deny they were members of any such group'', but claimed to be either "cajoled or pressed to joining the assault''.

Judge Marrinan continued: "This attack was not spontaneous. It was planned with vehicles used to take people to and from the scene. There was a brief reconnaissance of the scene, various weapons including a hammer, a metal bar and a baseball bat were used to attack the victim.

"It is one thing to read about such attacks in the news or on television that occur with grim regularity in recent times and quite often in Co Antrim.

"It is quite another matter to watch an attack actually unfold on screen or DVD."

The Judge added that the injuries Mr Moore sustained could have been fatal, with a CT scan showing he had suffered "a depressed skull fracture, multiple rib fractures and several fractures to the thoracic spinal process".

Police have released footage of the attack as the investigation remains open in an effort to pursue the other men involved.

DCI McCubbin appealed to anyone with information about the incident to contact police on 101 quoting reference number 982 of 15 March 2017, or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.



(JG/CM)

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