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04 Oct 2022

Derry man tried to 'gouge' the eyes out of a police officer during a 'violent struggle'

He was charged with attempting to inflict GBH on a police officer

Derry Magistrate's Court heard today how a man tried to 'gouge' the eyes out of a police officer during a 'violent struggle'.

Paul Hennessy (27) of no fixed abode was charged with attempting to inflict GBH on a police officer on September 7.

He was also charged with criminal damage to a body worn camera and five counts of assault on police again on the same date.

A police officer connected the accused to the charges and opposed bail. 

He told the court that around 3.54am police received a report of a disturbance at the Rockmills area of the city. 

They found the defendant in the Rock Road area and searched him and found a bank card in someone else's name.

Hennessy was unable to confirm to police how he came by these items but when they went to arrest him he became 'violent and aggressive'.

The court heard that while the defendant was trying to gouge the officers eyes he was 'laughing manically'.

After a prolonged 'violent struggle' Hennessy was arrested and it was later discovered he was permitted to have the bank card. 

Bail was opposed due to the fact that Hennessy was viewed as a danger to the public 'given the level of the violence used.'

The court heard that the officer had suffered 'damage to his eyes' requiring hospital treatment. 

The officer also said that police believed Hennessy was a flight risk as he was originally from the South, had an address in London and was currently in Derry.

A defence solicitor said that his client was not long out of prison and led' a transient lifestyle. '

He said Hennessy had reacted as he did because he believed police were being' heavy handed '.

District Judge Barney McElholm said that given the circumstances police had good reason to suspect a crime.

He said anyone who tried to gouge out a police officer' s eyes was a danger to the public.

He refused bail and remanded him in custody to appear again on October 6. 

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