A Waringstown man who viciously attacked another man at a bus stop after allegedly being called a “paedophile” has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
Thomas Clayton Matthews, 49, of Mill Hill, pleaded guilty at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday to assault causing actual bodily harm.
Court heard on December 27, last year, a report was made to police that the defendant had assaulted a man at a bus stop.
The injured party suffered cuts to the head and arms, along with markings around his throat.
Both the victim and four witness accounts stated Matthews had raised his arms first as he grabbed the man, pinned him to the ground, and delivered several punches.
When first interviewed the defendant told police he had been waiting for a bus, which is when the injured party began calling him a “paedophile”.
He went on to say this continued while on the bus and he went up to the victim, who was sat with two females, at the back of the bus and told him to stop.
Matthews claimed the injured party had followed him off the bus and pushed him, which is when he stated he fought back.
He denied getting on top of the victim, poking his eyes, biting or grabbing him by the throat.
In another police interview, he admitted to punching the victim several times but denied causing the damage shown in photographs of the victim.
Defence barrister Conor Lunny said Matthews’ actions were “inexcusable”, telling court there had been “ongoing differences between the two men”, which had been the reason for the injured party goading the defendant on the bus.
He added that initially Matthews had done the right thing by warning the man to stop but what he did after was not acceptable.
Mr Lunny added that the defendant had admitted to being in the wrong after seeing CCTV footage and did not wish to waste the court’s time.
It was heard that Matthews had previously been convicted of “numerous violent offences” but had no record since 2004.
Mr Lunny finished by saying his client wished to “apologise to the injured party formally, in spite of the bad blood”.
District Judge Bernie Kelly stated this was “clearly a very serious offence” adding that in his pre-sentence report he had “written himself out of community service”.
Matthews was given credit for the early plea as he was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for three years.