Northern Ireland news

Man attacked a couple with a bottle after perceived insult to his wife

A BELFAST man has been handed an eight year prison sentence for a "savage'' bottle attack on a couple in their home.

Stephen Ewing (39), of no fixed address, was told by a judge that he had left one of his victims with "significant and life changing'' facial injuries after being repeatedly stabbed with a broke bottle.

Judge Neil Rafferty QC urged Ewing to "seek help for your alcohol and substance abuse'' while in prison and not to leave it until after his release from custody. "Don't put it off. Now is the time to deal with it,'' added the judge.

Ewing had pleaded guilty to charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, common assault and grievous bodily harm with intent in July 2018 when Ewing went with his wife to the home of a couple after he had been out drinking.

He was said to have taken offence to music the couple were playing, including a song entitled 'You Can Do Better', which he took as a reference to his wife.

Ewing first attacked the man, striking him on the head from behind with a red wine bottle. The victim needed 45 staples and stitches to his face and scalp.

A prosecution lawyer said Ewing then used a second wine bottle to attack the female, whom he held on the ground by her hair while stabbing her in the face with it.

She sustained "significant'' injuries and required stitches to her right ear, right nostril and left cheek, with damage also caused to her saliva gland.

The court heard Ewing had 90 previous convictions, with 11 assaults on police, a series of common assaults, 11 counts of criminal damage, one of hijacking, six robbery offences, three of threats to kill and three offences of indictable common assault.

Ewing was jailed for eight years, and after being found dangerous by the court, he will not be automatically released after serving four years of his sentence. Instead, it will be up to the Parole Commission to determine when he is eligible to be freed.

Once released, Ewing will have to spend an additional three years on supervised licence for what the judge said was for "the protection of the public in the future''.

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