Five men jailed for ‘brutal’ loyalist paramilitary assault

Victim and witnesses would not cooperate with PSNI investigation

Five men from Co Antrim have been jailed for what the PSNI described as a "prolonged and vicious assault" by loyalist paramilitaries on a former Irish League soccer player.

Darren Moore (49), who played for Crusaders for a period in the 1990s, was assaulted in a pub in Doagh, Co Antrim in March 2017 in an attack carried out in front of staff and customers.

Mr Moore did not cooperate with the police investigation, said a senior PSNI officer on Monday.

Hammers, baseball bats and metal bars were used in the assault. Police said that 10 men were involved in the “brutal attack” in the busy bar, and they are still seeking to convict the remaining suspects.


At Laganside Crown Court on Monday David Rush (36) Ballyvessey Green, Newtownabbey; Joshua Wylie (20) of Galgorm Road, Ballymena; and Robert Harry Campbell (33), Clareville Avenue, Ballyclare pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent against Mr Moore.

Rush was sentenced to six years, three years to be served in prison and three years on licence. Wylie was sentenced to seven years, half of which is to be served in a young offenders’ centre and half on licence.

Campbell was sentenced to five and half years, 33 months to be served in custody and 33 months to be served on licence.

Aaron Norman Cahoon (28), Cherrymount, Newtownabbey and David John Gibson (45), Milewater Drive, New Mossley pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the grievous bodily harm attack and were sentenced to four and a half years each, half of which will be served in custody and half on licence.

‘Extremely frightening’

PSNI Det Chief Insp Dunny McCubbin welcomed the convictions and said: “There can be no excuse for this prolonged and vicious assault which left the victim with serious injuries and would have been extremely frightening for the staff and customers who were in the bar and witnessed the attack.

“In many paramilitary style attacks, securing statements from victims can be a challenge for police as there is fear of reprisal. In this case, there was no co-operation from the victim and witnesses but our robust investigation successfully led to the prosecution of five men involved,” he added.

“This should act as a warning to anyone involved in the violence associated with paramilitarism that we will work tirelessly to put them in front of the courts,” said the senior officer.

“The thugs responsible for this attack are hypocrites who think that they can act as judge, jury and executioner and they have no place in our society,” added Det Chief Insp McCubbin.

“They don’t serve the best interests of the community and they gave no thought to the people witnessing the attack or the woman they man-handled as she intervened to try and save Darren’s life,” he said.

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times