THE partner of a Fermanagh man gasped in shock as sentencing was imposed for offences he committed along with a group of others, during a ‘home invasion’ in which the victim was brutally stabbed eight times.
Peter Anthony Smith (27) of Beechgrove Park, Ballinamallard was originally charged with attempting to murder a man after smashing into his home on October 8 2016.
However when the case reached Dungannon Crown Court for trial, Smith pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of aiding and abetting unlawful and malicious wounding with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.
The court heard Smith was contacted by co-defendant, Brendan Gerald McLaughlin (27) previously with an address in Tempo, but now in custody, on the night in question, and told of an intention to go to the victim’s home.
They set off with two others and Smith accepted he brought a hurley stick.
He used this to gain entry to the property, but thereafter the incident went “out of hand.”
Instead of the stick being used as a weapon, the co-defendant obtained a knife from the kitchen and stabbed the victim eight times.
Both Smith and McLaughlin left the house and the knife was disposed of. One of the other co-defendants, who is still a teenager was instructed to get rid of the car used to travel to the scene.
Following an anonymous tip-off to a solicitor, the knife would later be recovered.
Meanwhile the victim was taken to hospital having sustained significant injures including chest, kidney and bowel wounds.
The court was told there was no evidence connecting Smith to the actual stabbing and enquiries revealed the hurling stick was not connected to any injury sustained by the victim.
Police commenced searches and Smith was arrested.
He would later admit resisting police and destroying a handcuff key when detained.
Ruling only a custodial sentence was appropriate, Judge Fowler said the starting point was five years imprisonment, causing Smith’s partner, seated in the public gallery to gasp loudly with shock.
After allowing credit for the guilty pleas, the judge fixed sentencing at three years and three months imprisonment, with half to be spent on supervised licence. The existing suspended sentence was also activated, which will run concurrently.
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