Football fan convicted of attacking jogger

A FOOTBALL supporter was convicted yesterday of assaulting a jogger out running in Belfast.

Prosecutors claimed Conan Magee acted "like a wild animal" trying to bite James Ferguson in the attack.

Magee (21) of Antrim Road in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, will be sentenced next month.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard violence flared after he had been at a Cliftonville match in August 2013.

Magee, who claimed to be tipsy at the time, was with a friend waiting near Antrim Road PSNI station for a bus home.

As Mr Ferguson ran past he was said to have shouted: "Get those legs up, you c***."

The victim, who had earphones in, stopped and queried the remark.

According to the prosecution he then replied: "Jog on, you w*****."

At that stage he was alleged to have launched the first part of his assault.

A struggle between the pair continued before the defendant's friend said he broke them up.

Magee denied the charge, claiming his own lip was busted by a punch.

He told the court: "I tried to hit him back, but it seemed to me he had done boxing. His technique was too good."

Under cross-examination he denied interfering with cars on the day, claiming he was only "slagging a few people going past".

But a prosecution lawyer put it to him that he grabbed and started punching Mr Ferguson before he got away.

"You were so vicious that you wanted to continue the assault against him," he said.

"You wanted to attack him again, and threatened him with the use of a knuckle duster and subsequently threatened to stab him."

Rejecting the claims, Magee replied: "Do you think I have a personal tool box on me?

"I didn't have anything on me, I was out for a football match."

However, the prosecutor continued: "Essentially you were acting like a wild animal, trying to bite him."

Again Magee denied that assessment of the situation.

"He was trying to choke me," the defendant insisted.

Magee was charged after a forensic match was made with blood found on clothing.

He had faced an allegation of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

With Mr Ferguson said to have suffered scrapes and bruising in the incident, District Judge Amanda Henderson instead convicted him of a less serious common assault.

She said: "I think the defendant has downplayed his behaviour."

Magee was released on bail to return for sentencing on June 16.


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