Men sought by police beaten and tied to bench in Armagh

Duo attacked by group of vigilantes before being found in Mullaghbawn area of county

Alexis Guesto and James White were beaten with iron bars before being taken to Mullaghbawn in south Armagh where they were further assaulted and covered in paint, said the PSNI . Photograph: PSNI/PA

Alexis Guesto and James White were beaten with iron bars before being taken to Mullaghbawn in south Armagh where they were further assaulted and covered in paint, said the PSNI . Photograph: PSNI/PA

 

Two men at the centre of a manhunt by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and Garda after they fled across the Border into the Republic have been beaten, tied up and had paint thrown over them.

The suspects were left on a park bench in south Armagh where they were ridiculed and recorded on the video phones of passersby before PSNI officers arrived and took them away.

Video footage has emerged on social media showing the two men seated on a bench, with their hands and legs tied.

What appears to be grey paint, and perhaps cement, had also been thrown over them, including to their heads and faces. They had their hands and feet tied with black cable ties and were then tied to the bench by rope. A group of vigilantes had set upon them, the PSNI said.

A large number of social media posts tracked the men’s movements as far south as Cork and Limerick over the past week.

While the men were now being questioned by the PSNI, its officers said because the suspects were beaten and abused an inquiry into those crimes must now take place.

This had the effect of diverting valuable resources away from the investigation of other offences.

Attacked

Det Chief Insp Jill Duffie said it appeared the two men had been attacked by a group of people before they were found in the Mullaghbawn area of south Armagh.

“We believe the two men, James White and Alexis Guesto, who were wanted by police for a range of offences, including breach of licence and warrants, were discovered by a group of males on Saturday evening as they attempted to evade an ongoing police search for them,” she said in a statement.

“White and Guesto were kicked and beaten with iron bars before being taken to Mullaghbawn village, where they were further assaulted by a number of individuals and covered in paint.

“Both men were taken to hospital by police, one of the males has been arrested and the other remains in hospital being treated for his injuries.

“Both men will be brought before the court at the earliest opportunity in relation to the matters for which they were being sought.

“Throughout [Saturday] as our search for the two men was ongoing, I was pleased with the response from the local community and the assistance being provided to police.

“Unfortunately, now, due to the violent actions of a small number of people, we have had to redirect resources and efforts towards investigating a serious assault.

“There is no excuse for individuals taking the law into their own hands, nor for the violent scenes that we witnessed last night.”

Gusto is a 26-year-old from Co Down and is also known as Jason Lydiard. White is a 48-year-old from Armagh. Both have criminal records and are regarded as a risk to public safety.

The men were already the subject of an alert by the PSNI before they were taken into custody on Saturday.

The PSNI last Friday issued a statement saying that as a result of a number of sightings of the men in south Armagh and Newry it was believed the men had travelled back into the North from the Republic.