Northern Ireland news

Teenager high on drugs gets probation after attacking 83-year-old man buying milk

Odhran Loughlin

A TEENAGER who admitted assaulting an 83-year-old man in an unprovoked attack while "off his head" on drugs, has avoided jail after a judge said sending him to prison would not address his problems.

Odhran Loughlin (18), of Ballymullock Road near Larne, Co Antrim appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court today for sentencing.

The court previously heard how he launched an attack on the pensioner - punching him in the head and kicking him in the stomach - who had gone to the shops to buy milk.

The pensioner had just left a Spar shop at Linn Road in Larne on December 11 last year when he noticed a youth nearby who was "talking to himself".

The court heard he swore as he kicked the victim in the stomach and struck him in the face.

The pensioner received a cut near his ear and also suffered tenderness in his stomach.

A prosecutor said that when interviewed Loughlin said he taken a number of drugs and had been "off his head" and couldn't remember what happened.

Loughlin said the pensioner was unknown to him and "happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time".

Defence barrister Neil Moore said Loughlin had taken a "mixture of prescription drugs" and could not remember the attack. He said his client was "absolutely appalled" when informed of what happened.

Mr Moore said there were "underlying anger management issues" which Loughlin needed to address.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said it was an "appalling" incident.

However he said the defendant had shown remorse and had a clear insight into the distress he caused the the pensioner.

The judge said jailing the defendant would not address Loughlin's underlying issues and in a bid to prevent further offences he put him on probation for a year.

He also ordered him to do 100 hours of unpaid work and ordered him to pay £200 compensation to the victim.

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