Man who battered the sleeping son of a former partner with an iron bar to serve 15 years

Julie Larsen at an earlier hearing. She is the victim's mother and former partner of his attacker. She admitted perverting public justice by attempting to clean up after the attack and her 12-month sentence was suspended for two years

AN east Belfast man who battered the sleeping son of a former partner with an iron bar leaving him with life-changing injuries, has been given an extended custodial sentence of 15 years.

Jailing 31-year-old Ryan Edward Taylor the Belfast Recorder, Judge David McFarland told him there could be no doubt "this was a vicious attack", carried out with a heavy drop bar, which he initially described as, "not just a simple weapon, but a nasty piece of work".

Judge McFarland also told Taylor that he must have known that as he rained down blow after blow on his sleeping victim, "that very serious injuries, or death could have flowed from that", adding later the fact he survived had nothing to do with Taylor, but "more to do with fate and the speed of medical intervention".

The Belfast Crown Court judge also ruled that as Taylor posed a danger to society it will be up to Parole Commissioners to say when he should be freed, after which he will be under an extended supervised license of three years.

Taylor from Templemore Street, had pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Matthew Larsen on December 28, 2015, causing him grievous bodily harm, attacking his girlfriend as she attempted to shield him, and threatening to kill her and her friend.

Taylor's former partner, 42-year-old Julie Larsen, who admitted perverting public justice by attempting to clean-up after the attack, was freed when her 12-month sentence was suspended for two years.

Prosecution barrister David Russell told the court that Taylor and Larsen went to her Ross House home in the Mount Vernon flats complex of north Belfast, in the early hours only to find the front door locked.

When opened by the girlfriend of Matthew Larsen, Taylor immediately took the "drop bar" which had been bolting the door and rushed to a bedroom where his victim lay sleeping.

Using the heavy iron bar like a baseball bat, he then began attacking a sleeping Mr Larsen. His girlfriend was also injured as she attempted to shield him.

Mr Russell said a defenceless Mr Larsen, who never woke once as the first blow, "causing his ear to explode" rendered him unconscious, and ultimately left with multiple fractures to his head and back of his skull.

In the aftermath of the attack Ms Larsen attempted to clean the scene by washing the bed sheets.

Defence lawyer Denis Boyd said a "genuinely remorseful" Ms Larsen was "effectively out of her mind with drugs ... awash with drink and drugs" at the time but since then had completely turned her life around, was now drug free, and working to help others tackle their addictions.

QC Gregg Berry for Taylor said he had admitted his involvement in the attack from the outset, and when the question of his actual intent was resolved, he readily pleaded guilty to the attempted murder,.

Mr Berry said the Taylor, shot by paramilitaries when aged 17, and beaten by them when he was 20, had struggled with drug and alcohol abuse from his youth, but now has "a genuine desire to move on, not only within the prison system, but also upon his release".

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