Northern Ireland

Three Belfast men jailed for drunken rampage in city centre flats

Three Belfast men who went on a drunken rampage in a block of flats in the city centre have been jailed.

The trio appeared at Belfast Crown Court and were each handed a five-year sentence which was divided between two years in jail followed by three years on licence.

A 60-year old resident feared she would be burned alive in her flat and sustained fractures to her pelvis, arm and wrist defending her home.

The sentences were imposed on 44-year old Conor Gerard Hamill from Cliftonville Road, 36-year old Joseph Declan Kane from Herbert Street and Kieran Thomas Lewsley (37) from Springfield Road.

Judge Paul Ramsey said all three "ran amok" and embarked on a "drunken rampage bringing terror and serious injury to the residents of a block of flats."

The incident at Hill Street began at around 3am on May 13, 2021 when a male resident contacted the PSNI.

The caller told police he heard banging and kicking on his front door and Lewsley calling him a coward and telling him to come out of his flat.

At 3.12am a 60-year old female resident was woken by banging the door of her flat. She went to her door, heard male voices outside calling her an 'orange b****d' and noticed her door was struck so hard that the frame shook.

She held onto her door handle to try and prevent the males from entering - and at this point flammable liquid was poured through her letterbox and she heard one of males ask for a lighter then say 'you are going to be burned alive.'

Terrified, she held onto the door handle but when this was knocked off, she slipped on the liquid and could hear the men outside her flat laughing as she screamed.

She sustained multiple fractures as a result and has not returned to her former home.

Other residents were also woken by their doors being damaged and when one man opened his door, Hamill struck out at him with a knife.

Another resident whose door was damaged heard Lewsley outside his flat saying 'come out, I'm going to stiff you and burn your bike."

When police arrived at the scene they attended a flat in the block which was occupied by Lewsley and all three were arrested.

During interview Lewsley made no comment, Kane said he had been drinking vodka and taking cocaine and could remember nothing while Hamill denied it was him when shown CCTV footage of the incident.

All three subsequently pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated burglary with intent to commit grievous bodily harm, causing damage to eight front doors and to causing grievous bodily harm to the 60-year old female resident.

Hamill also admitted assaulting a male resident while Lewsley pleaded guilty to additional charges of making threats to kill and threats to damage property.

Barristers for all three men spoke of their clients addiction and mental health issues.