A 28-year-old man, who punched a man he believed had “ulterior motives” with his sister with a phone charger in an unprovoked assault, has been jailed for two years and nine months.
Laurie Ian Murphy appeared in Royal Court today facing one count of grave and criminal assault and a series of unrelated driving offences.
The assault took place in town on 20 April after the victim had been visiting one of his friends in hospital. Murphy was sitting in the reception area with another man and his little sister when the victim entered the hospital. The trio left the hospital shortly before the victim, who then headed home.
Pictured: The incident took place on Cannon Street.
The Court heard that Murphy approached the victim on Cannon Street. He introduced his little sister and accused the man of having had ulterior motives when he had offered her food one evening.
The man denied this, saying, “No chance mate, I’m married with a son.” He then tried to walk away, but Murphy ran up to him. He asked for help, saying he had a broken shoulder, but the man told him to go to A&E.
Murphy then assaulted the man, hitting him on the left temple with a charging plug he was holding in his right hand.
“He hit me one time and he did this as hard as he could,” the man said. “It was a real whack and I think he really wanted to do me some damage.
“I did not fall to the floor or lose consciousness. I put my left hand up to where he hit me, and I saw that my hand was covered in blood and it was already pouring down my shirt.”
Pictured: Murphy admitted the assault the day before his trial was due to start.
Murphy then walked away without saying a word to the victim, who went home to call the police.
Murphy initially denied the assault but eventually admitted it the afternoon before a two-day assize trial was due to start after the presiding judge allowed the prosecution to use all of Murphy’s violence-related offences as evidence of his bad character.
In an unrelated incident, Murphy drove a BMW that belonged to an individual who was in custody without their permission. He told a police officer he was “just moving it” before walking away.
He was later arrested and found to be over the legal limit with 85mg per 100ml of blood. Officers later learned that he was disqualified from driving and had no insurance.
Pictured: Murphy walked away from a police officer.
Crown Advocate Conrad Yates described the attack as "unprovoked", adding that the single blow had been hard enough to break the man’s skin, leaving bumps on his temple and affecting the vision in his left eye.
He also said the victim had been worried about going out in public since the attack and had been approached by some of Murphy’s friends, who claimed he had paid them to threaten him.
The Crown Advocate said Murphy had shown no remorse as he believed the man had ulterior motives regarding his sister.
He recommended a total sentence of three years and three months as well as a 24-month long driving ban.
He also asked the court to impose a restraining order preventing Murphy from approaching the victim.
Pictured: Advocate Adam Harrison was defending Murphy.
Defending, Advocate Adam Harrison said those conclusions were too high and urged the Court to consider the recommendations made in favour of a probation and community service order.
He rejected the assertion that Murphy had used the phone charger as a “knuckle duster”, arguing he was simply holding it in the palm of his hand.
He said the attack had taken place in “the spur of the moment” when Murphy was “genuinely angry” about the story his sister had told him.
The lawyer told the Court of Murphy’s “caring side”, referring to his engagement with his son and the fact he wanted to support his partner.
He concluded his address saying it may be in the public’s interest to allow Murphy to work with the probation service through community service.
Pictured: Murphy has been banned from driving for three years.
Returning the Court’s sentence, the Bailiff, Tim Le Cocq, who was sitting with Jurats Jane Ronge and Robert Christensen, told Murphy the injuries he had caused were “fairly serious”, but could have been worse.
He sentenced him to two years and nine months, adding that the court had decided to ban him from driving for a longer period: three years in total.
He also agreed to impose a restraining order.
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