Northern Ireland

Ballymena man who kicked and punched blind man given three-month jail sentence

The defendant was given a three-month prison sentence
The defendant was given a three-month prison sentence The defendant was given a three-month prison sentence

A BALLYMENA man who kicked and punched a blind man who had knocked into him with his rollator has been given a three-month jail sentence.

Jailing Roy Gilmour (61) at Ballymena Magistrates Court, District Judge Nigel Broderick said his actions were "beyond belief".

The judge also said that having heard that former health minister Robin Swann had written a reference for Gilmour without knowing the full background, he said: "I’m not sure Mr Swann would want his name associated with the defendant."

At an earlier hearing Gilmour, from Tullymore Park, pleaded guilty to a single count of common assault and rehearsing the facts of the case today, a prosecuting lawyer described how police were called as a result of the incident on Wellington Street on November 25 last year.

She said the victim is a 63-year-old man who uses a rollator to get around and although he is registered blind with only 10 to 15 per cent vision, he cannot use a stick as he has to use the mobility aide.

He was walking along Wellington Street when he happened to bump into Gilmour and his disabled son who is also partially sighted. Gilmour reacted angrily, felling his disabled victim with three punches to the face and following up those blows with a kick while the blind man was defenceless on the ground, leaving him with injuries to his nose and cheeks.

Gilmour was arrested and during police interviews claimed he was acting in self-defence, a claim which DJ Broderick said was captured on mobile phone footage, adding "there’s no self-defence argument here at all".

Defence counsel Grant Powles said he accepted that, highlighting that Gilmour “is remorseful for his behaviour”, which erupted as a result of “red mist descending” due to the accidental bumping in the street.

Sentencing Gilmour, the judge said it would have been clear the victim “has issues” given he was using a rollator device but to then “punch him to the ground and then kick him really it’s beyond belief".

Although he imposed a three-month prison sentence, following a defence application Gilmour was freed on bail pending an appeal.