Northern Ireland news

Father-of-two who stabbed a man in north Belfast spared jail

Cawley was handed a 14-month sentence, which was suspended for two years, after he appeared at Belfast Crown Court on a charge of wounding

A father-of-two who stabbed a man in north Belfast was spared jail today.

Noel Patrick Cawley was handed a 14-month sentence, which was suspended for two years, after he appeared at Belfast Crown Court on a charge of wounding.

The injured party, Bernard McDonagh, died in an unrelated incident in Scotland in June.

Cawley (31) admitted wounding Mr McDonagh in the Havana Walk area of the city on October 4, 2019.

Mr McDonagh was in the area visiting a relative, when he approached Cawley's house. He took off his shirt and began shouting, which prompted Cawley to come out onto the street.

The two men, who knew each other through a family link, became involved in an altercation during which Cawley attacked the other man with a knife he had taken from his house.

He stabbed Mr McDonagh in the chest, and when the injured man fell to the ground Cawley stabbed him again in the neck and arm.

Cawley then called 999, and Mr McDonagh was treated for a superficial wound to his chest and injuries to his neck and forearm that required staples.

Following his arrest, Cawley expressed remorse for his actions and said he mistakenly believed that when Mr McDonagh approached his house, he was armed with a knife.

With an address at Mullacreevie Park in Armagh, Cawley also claimed he acted out of "fear and panic".

Judge Patrick Kinney said he accepted this was an "isolated incident", that Cawley had shown "genuine remorse" and there has been "no other offending in his life, before or after this incident."

After imposing the suspended sentence, Judge Kinney addressed Cawley and told him that if he re-offended in the next two years, he could be sent to jail.

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Northern Ireland news