02 July 2005

Sectarian attack 'shamed' Carrick

Belfast Telegraph

Six jailed for storming Catholic couple's home

02 July 2005

SIX Carrickfergus men who brought shame on the Co Antrim seaside town last July when they formed a sectarian mob to drive a Catholic couple and a friend from their home have been sentenced to up to four-and-a-half years in jail.

Belfast Judge Babbington in the Crown Court yesterday told the six, who said they were from the UVF and were going to burn the victims from their home, that they were guilty of a "brutal and callous attack which had brought shame on the good people of Carrickfergus".

The judge said that the men had "formed themselves into a mob, akin to a lynch mob" during the sectarian attack on July 24 last year, in which one man was hospitalised after being thrown through a window.

Prosecuting QC Carl Simpson said in the aftermath of the attack the family and their friend left their Carrick homes that night vowing never to return again.

Given the highest jail term of four-and-a-half years after agreeing to serve a further year on probation was 31-year-old Leonard McCullough of Maple Gardens in the town.

Jailed for four years was 42-year-old Norman Hendry from The Hollies and Philip Wills (26) of Dean Park. Given two-and-a-half years was Robert Barnett (27) of Victoria Street. Two years was given to 21-year-old James Brown of Minorca Drive while 21-year-old Emerson Meeke of Albert Road, was jailed for 12 months.

All but Meeke, who admitted affray, had pleaded guilty to assault and also agreed to serve a year's probation upon their release.

Prosecuting QC Carl Simpson said the attack happened after a man went to a friend's home in Thomas Street with his sister looking for "sanctuary" after being confronted outside an off licence.

Shortly afterwards there was "unfriendly knock on the door" and when opened, McCullough and the others forced entry, attacking the householder and his friend.

The friend was punched and kicked to the ground and had a TV, video, beer cans and a chair thrown at him, before being thrown out the front living room window.

Mr Simpson also revealed that while he had his legs trapped in the window blinds attempts were made to stamp his face into the broken glass outside. He managed to run off, but was set upon again before he eventually made his escape.

The man's sister, who tried to phone police, had her mobile snatched from her and during the attack McCullough was heard to shout they were from the UVF and that the family were to be burned out and had ten minutes to leave.

Mr Simpson said once police arrived they had to escort the family from their home to safety.

Don't always believe what you read. I know for a fact that the victims of this particular incident were actually the agressors prior to the attack. I do not condone this type of behaviour, but I know a lot of people believe in "an eye for an eye" and to be honest, it could have been a lot worse.
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