AN Omagh man has been jailed for four years after beating a man unconscious with a metal bar after he was asked to leave a party.
Jailing Brendan Coyle of Drumlegagh Road South, Judge Neil Rafferty QC told him that such was the severity of the beating he could have been facing a murder trial.
The prison sentence was imposed after Coyle admitted maliciously wounding his victim.
He also received a concurrent six month sentence for causing criminal damage to a glass door.
Coyle will spend two years in custody and the remainder of the sentence on licence.
At the time of the incident the 22-year-old was already serving a suspended sentence.
His victim was left with cuts to his head requiring ten stitches and seven staples, and a laceration to his leg that received five staples, following the attack last year.
A co-defendant, Ryan Lynch (23) of Edinburgh Park, Omagh, who was seen brandishing a bat or a metal bar, received two sentences of five months each to run consecutively for possession of an offensive weapon and common assault. He was seen running along with Coyle and a third man but did not take part in the assault. However, he did punch another man when they were asked to leave the house party.
Dungannon Crown Court was told a third man who also had a weapon was with Coyle and Lynch, but he has not been identified.
The incident happened in the early hours of January 1, 2016 in the Mullaghmore Drive area of Omagh.
Coyle and Lynch arrived at the party with another man who knew the occupants of the house.
However, they did not know the defendants and asked them to leave. Lynch punched a man to the face inflicting a number of injuries while Coyle threatened to return and damage the flat. He returned soon after and broke two panels of a glass door using a bat.
A witness saw, what the judge described as the “gang of hoodlums” chase another man down Mullaghmore Drive and Coyle give him the beating with a large steel bat. The victim was on the ground trying to protect himself but fainted as the blows rained down on his head.
Coyle was observed taking “full swings” and beating the man about his head and legs.
On hearing the facts of the case, Judge Rafferty remarked that both defendants had “appalling records”.
Barrister Des Fahy said his client Coyle did not dispute his involvement and conceded there had been no previous animosity with the injured man. He suggested the defendant had made “no minimisation of the assault”.
Mr Fahy added that there were two “positive societal factors” in that Coyle has improved relationships with his family and is now drug and substance free.
Defence barrister Ian Turkington, instructed by solicitor Padhraic Cunningham, said Lynch had “gone off the rails” in 2014 after the tragic death of his brother and has become an “absolute nuisance”.
He added that there are “green shoots” in favour of his client in that he has attended addiction services and was also drug free.
Imposing the custodial sentences, Judge Rafferty told both defendants they were “wasting their lives” and would look back when they are aged 40 and realise they had “done a life sentence by an instalment plan”.
Addressing Coyle, he said, “This was a nasty and vicious assault of a human being. It could easily have been a murder trial with someone dead and you a facing a life sentence with a possible tariff of 15 years.”