Northern Ireland news

Man who broke into employer's home and pistol-whipped a woman sent to jail

Laganside courthouse in Belfast

A NORTH Belfast man who broke into his employer's home and pistol-whipped a woman has been jailed for two years.

A judge described the attack by Michael Quinn as "savage and vicious'', saying the incident had left his two victims "deeply traumatised'' by their ordeal.

Quinn (48), of Fortwilliam Demesne, had pleaded guilty to two counts of making threats to kill and possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

He also admitted two charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and causing criminal damage to glass doors at the property.

Belfast Crown court heard Quinn drove to the home of his employer on April 6 2017, after following him to the house.

The court was told the defendant gained entry to the property and produced an imitation firearm, threatened to kill his employer and a female who was also in the house at the time.

Quinn then hit the woman around the head with the gun and "kicked her while she was lying on the floor''.

His employer, who was recovering from injuries following a skiing accident, fought with Quinn who "pushed his employer who tumbled down the stairs''.

The court heard that the woman was eventually able to phone the police for help.

Both victims told police that Quinn had "glazed eyes and a possessed look'' about him, possibly through drugs.

He was shouting at them that he was going to "kill them and both and shoot them'' with the firearm which they believed was a real gun.

Judge Patricia Smyth told Quinn: "This was a vicious and savage attack on two vulnerable people at home.''

A Victim Impact statement on the woman said the attack happened on her 60th birthday and both she and the man had suffered both physically and psychologically as a result of the attack which had left them "deep traumatised''.

Quinn had claimed he had carried out the attack because the employer "had done wrong at work'', but Judge Smyth described this claim as "dillusional''.

Sentencing him to four years, half to be spent in custody and remainder on supervised licence, the judge said she had taken into consideration his early guilty pleas and his mental health problems.

Judge Smyth said she was mindful of Quinn's mental health issues and as a result she was ordering that the chief medical officer at the prison be given all medical reports compiled on the defendant.

"I am also instructing the chief medical officer in the prison to give Mr Quinn the proper supervised care during his period in custody,'' added Judge Smyth.

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