Michael McMenamin, 22, from Millfield in Buncrana, “should have known better” as he had been a victim of an attack himself.
Yet on February 16th 2009 he carried out a nauseating and unrelenting attack on a Co Derry man on the Cockhill Road in Buncrana, Letterkenny Circuit Court heard.
A stomach-turning account of the injuries suffered by John McCormick, from Dungiven, was given to the court.
The 23-year-old suffered a broken nose, a smashed cheekbone and a broken eye-socket.
He continued to receive treatment for his injuries 18 months later, suffering from severe headaches, his girlfriend told Gardai in a victim impact statement.
Judge John O’Hagan praised McMenamin’s barrister, noting that he had “left no page unturned” in telling the court that his client had deeply regretted the incident and had tried to move on in his life.
Mr McMenamin had been for counselling and had also gone on to study at LYIT and in Derry. He had also been the victim of an assault.
However Judge O’Hagan said it must be accepted that anyone is entitled to walk down a main street in Buncrana at 2.30am in the morning or at anytime.
Mr McCormick’s life, said the judge, had been “torn apart” by the attack.
McMenamin, said Judge O’Hagan, had been to see counsellors but he told him: “There is nothing psychiatrically wrong with you. You are perfectly sane.”
He added: “You actually know what it’s like to be on the other end (of an attack).”
In a lengthy and considered summing up, Judge O’Hagan said he had considered imposing the maximum five year prison sentence for such crimes, but had to consider all the evidence and mitigation before him.
A guilty plea, he said, had saved the State considerable expense and the presence of the accused’s father in court was welcome. “It doesn’t always happen,” said the judge.
Taking all the evidence into consideration, it would be wholly inappropriate to deal with the case by way of community service.
Judge O’Hagan sentenced McMenamin – who had a lengthy previous record for assault – to two years in prison, suspending the last six months.
McMenamin was handcuffed in the court and led away to begin his sentence, a female friend crying loudly as he was taken into custody.
The thug’s dad hugged him and said ‘good luck son’ as he was taken away.
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