Three men jailed in Belfast for beating teen into a coma

Footage of ‘grotesque orgy of violence’ was circulated on attacker’s mobile phone

Laganside Crown Court File image: Google Street View All three appeared remotely at court in Belfast over their alleged roles.

Laganside Crown Court File image: Google Street View All three appeared remotely at court in Belfast over their alleged roles.

 

Three young men who took part in a “sustained, persistent and repeated” attack on their teenage friend in a flat in Belfast were sentenced for the assault on Tuesday.

The victim - who was 17 at the time of the May 2019 attack - was stripped naked, beaten unconscious and left in a lifeless state in a bath in an incident branded “a grotesque orgy of violence”.

Footage of a portion of the prolonged attack which took place in Ulidia House was also recorded on a mobile phone, as were images of the bloodied and battered victim, which were then sent to other young people.

The teenager was rushed to hospital where he was intubated and remained in a coma in the Intensive Care Unit. He sustained multiple, serious injuries including a bleed on the brain, a fractured nose, broken ribs, a wound to his upper lung and extensive swelling to his head and face. He also sustained slash wounds to an upper arm.

Despite the severe nature of his injuries, he regained consciousness a few days later and was discharged.

All three attackers - Geordie Brown (20), Dean Clarke (22) and Nathan McCrory (20) - appeared at a remote hearing of Belfast Crown Court on Tuesday, where they were sentenced for a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Brown and McCrory, who are both currently housed in Hydebank young offenders centre, were each handed an eight-year sentence which Judge Stephen Fowler QC said would be divided between four years in custody and four on licence.

Clarke, who was transferred from Hydebank to the Shannon secure unit at Knockbracken due to his mental health, was assessed as being a dangerous offender by the probation board and the court.

As he was assessed as posing a significant risk to the public, he was also handed an eight-year sentence, with an extended period of three year licence imposed.

As he sentenced all three men, Judge Fowler spoke of the “gratuitous degradation” inflicted on the teenager. The Judge also branded the images and videos of the incident as “trophy photographs”.

The violent incident occurred on the afternoon of May 3rd 2019 after all four had been drinking and taking drugs together.

Part of the attack was captured on Ulidia’s internal CCTV system, whilst other footage inside the flat was filmed on Clarke’s mobile phone.

It was this footage which alerted the teenager’s brother about the attack. He had been concerned about his sibling’s whereabouts, and when the footage began circulating, he was contacted by an unknown female who sent him the clip, which was accompanied by the message “is this your brother?”

In a victim impact statement, the teenager said he considered those who attacked him to be his friends, and felt they had destroyed his life.

While he could not remember much, the teenager now had flashbacks, kept himself to himself, and had turned to alcohol and cannabis to help him cope, he said.