Northern Ireland

Man suffered 42 blows in 14 seconds in 'ferocious' paramilitary-style attack in west Belfast

Prosecutors claimed the man's head was stamped on during a coordinated attack
Prosecutors claimed the man's head was stamped on during a coordinated attack

A MAN was allegedly subjected to a "ferocious" paramilitary-style assault involving more than 40 blows in a matter of seconds, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors claimed his head was stamped on during a coordinated attack after he had been ejected from premises in west Belfast.

Details emerged as one of four men charged with his attempted murder was granted compassionate bail for a family funeral.

Mark McGrann (35), of Old Colin in the Dunmurry area, also faces a second count of causing grievous bodily harm with intent during the incident on September 28.

Based on CCTV footage, a Crown lawyer said the victim received 42 blows in a 14-second period.

She claimed he was punched and kicked about the head and body, with Mr McGrann allegedly stamping on his head up to 14 times, before being left lying on the pavement.

Due to reporting restrictions the exact location is not being disclosed.

The man sustained a "significant" head injury and told police the attack had been carried out by a grouping referring to itself as "the IRA", according to prosecution counsel.

"The line of inquiry at this stage is that this was a paramilitary-style assault," she said.

The court heard footage allegedly shows the four accused in conversation inside the premises before the man is removed by bouncers.

Once outside he is seen being led away and then dragged to the ground, the prosecutor claimed.

She continued: "Thereafter, what is described as a ferocious assault takes place, lasting 14 seconds, which includes stamping on his head by this applicant."

With the alleged victim out of hospital but yet to make a formal complaint, bail was opposed due to fears of possible intimidation.

Mr Justice McAlinden was told 38 potential witnesses have been identified, but a number of them have declined to make statements.

Defence barrister Joe Brolly contended that a case without any medical evidence is "replete with exaggeration and speculation".

He told the court: "The charge is attempted murder, and this gentleman had a cut on his forehead."

The CCTV footage which allegedly links his client only shows blurred figures "almost impossible to see", Mr Brolly added.

Mr McGrann was seeking temporary release to attend his sister's wake and funeral on Saturday before being returned to custody later that day.

Granting his application, the judge imposed conditions including the lodgment of a £2,000 cash surety.

He said: "The court can be satisfied that this man's attention and the attention of his family will be directed towards the loss of a loved one, rather than any other issues arising out of the alleged offending."