A dangerous thug who stabbed an innocent bystander in the head and neck was handed a 12 year jail sentence today (Thursday).
Jailing 27-year-old Glen McVeigh at Craigavon Crown Court, Judge Patrick Lynch QC warned that anyone who carried a knife and was willing to use it “must expect severe punishment”.
“The use of a weapon can take what otherwise may have been an unpleasant but relatively minor encounter, into a potentially life threatening situation.
“The accused in this case aimed two blows at the throat and head of his victim who at the time was lying on the ground. It is fortunate indeed that his injuries were not even more serious,” declared the judge.
At the end of his three day trial earlier this year McVeigh, whose address was given as c/o Maghaberry prison, was convicted of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent on 28 October 2017.
Giving a brief summary of the evidence heard by the jury, Judge Lynch recounted how there had been a Halloween party in an upstairs room of the Courthouse Bar in Lurgan when McVeigh had an argument with his girlfriend.
“He was aggressive towards her and said ‘You’re going to get me into trouble, I’m on bail’,” said the judge, adding that when there was no sign of McVeigh calming down, the bar manager decided that he should be ejected so he was removed down to a side entrance.
McVeigh resisted but was eventually put out where he “punched and kicked at the door” before running around to the front of the bar to try and regain access.
The victim had been downstairs in the premises with his wife having a meal and a few drinks and when they left just after midnight, they saw McVeigh being ejected.
“The defendant barged into the shoulder of the injured party and when he turned round McVeigh told him: “You’re f**king next.”
They squared up and McVeigh said: “I’ve got a knife. You’re f**king for it,” he told the court.
Judge Lynch described how CCTV footage of the incident showed the defendant on top of the victim when a knife fell to the ground and having picked it up, McVeigh used it to “slash at the victim’s throat” before stabbing him in the back of the head with a punching motion.
While McVeigh “got up and ran away,” his victim was left on the ground “bleeding heavily” but he was taken to hospital where the cut to his neck was glued and eight staples were required for the head injury, said the judge.
Turning to the victim impact statement, Judge Lynch said it was clear the victim “had suffered both physically and mentally” as a result of the attack, revealing that he had been off work for five months after he was stabbed, has since been diagnosed as suffering from PTSD and continues to suffer from panic attacks.
Referring back to the police investigation, the judge said McVeigh was identified from the footage and was arrested but during police questioning, he denied involvement, a stance he maintained at his trial where he gave evidence on his own behalf.
Indeed, McVeigh even went so far as to allege that his victim was a drug dealer who routinely sold him cannabis, claims the judge described as “wild and unfounded” and something which he found “particularly disturbing.”
“I regard the verdict of the jury as a total repudiation of this malicious and self-serving lie,” said Judge Lynch.
Jailing McVeigh, the judge told the court: “It is an unfortunate aspect of life in recent years that the carrying of knives to be used as a weapon of offence or as an immediate recourse in defence has become more prevalent.
“The use of a weapon can take what otherwise may have been an unpleasant but relatively minor encounter into a potentially life threatening situation.
“The accused in this case aimed two blows at the throat and head of his victim who at the time was lying on the ground. It is fortunate indeed that his injuries were not even more serious.
“The courts must emphasise that those who carry such weapons, particularly when they demonstrate a readiness to use them, must expect severe punishment.”
He warned McVeigh that as was imposing an extended licence sentence, that meant rather than qualifying for 50% remission and then being freed automatically, it would be up to the parole commissioners when he was freed and under what conditions.
Even when he is released McVeigh will be subject to licence conditions for an extra three years.