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22/09/2021

Derry man who left brother unconscious in 'appalling' hurley stick attack jailed for over four years

Derry courthouse
A 20-years-old Derry man who hit his brother up to 12 times with a hurley stick during an alcohol and drugs fuelled attack outside their home has been jailed for four years and nine months at Derry Crown Court. Eoin Collins admitted hitting his older brother Conor with the weapon as the victim was standing and after he fell to the ground. He also admitted assaulting three police officers who were called to the scene of the attack by neighbours. He kicked one officer on the leg, headbutted another and spat his blood into the face of a female police officer during the incidents which occurred outside the family home at Barr's Lane ,in the early hours of March 28 of last year. The court was told that Conor had forgiven his brother for attacking him and that other siblings were also supportive of the defendant, However Judge Philip Babington said while he noted the views of the family and also the content of a letter from Conor, the court had to consider the safety of the public. Judge Babington said Eoin Collins had an appalling criminal record of thirty-eight previous criminal convictions, ten of them for assault. He said Collins had also been assessed at high likelihood of re-offending and that the number of criminal convictions for someone of the defendant's age was concerning. The police were alerted to the incident by neighbours and when officers arrived at the scene they saw Conor lying on the ground with a pillow under his head and being tended to by a member of the public. Paramedics were called and initially Conor was not responsive. A hurley bat was found in a neighbouring garden. The defendant also had a number of facial injuries and part of his lower lip was missing. As the police tried to talk to the defendant he attacked the three officers. The following day the police spoke to Conor about the attack on him by his brother, but he refused to make a statement about the incident. The victim had sustained lacerations and cuts to the left side of his head and Judge Babington said given the fact that a weapon was used to inflict the injuries, it was fortunate that Conor had not been more seriously injured. A psychiatric report stated that Eoin Collins experimented with drugs in his early to mid teens and that in recent times his preference was to use blues, Xanax or cocaine. "It seems the defendant told the author of the report that he was flat out for some weeks before the incident taking drugs and excessive amounts of alcohol. He told the author of the report that he was under the influence of different substances at the time and was not in full control of himself", Judge Babington. Judge Babington said the incident followed a three day drinking and drugs taking binge. "The offending in this case is aggravated by the use of a weapon and also by the fact that it was a repeated assault both while Conor was on his feet and on the ground. "This was an appalling and serious assault by the defendant on his brother who at times was completely defenceless lying on the ground", he said. Imposing the determinate sentence Judge Babington told Collins that if he had been convicted following a trial, he would have jailed him for six years.

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