Co Antrim man who attacked three generations of same family jailed

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A Co Antrim man who injured three generations of a family – one of whom was assaulted with a bag of potatoes – has been given a five-year sentence.

Gareth McAllister’s offending took place over a four-day period last June, during which he attacked a teenager, his father and his grandfather.

The youngest victim was slashed in the forehead by a knife-wielding McAllister, who also assaulted police during his arrest.

The 19-year-old, from Rogan Manor in Newtownabbey, initially attacked the father with a bag of potatoes on June 6 outside the family home, and four days later he knifed the son.

When the son’s father and grandfather intervened in the knife attack, they sustained injuries disarming McAllister.

Branding McAllister’s offending as “extremely serious,” Judge Gordon Kerr QC handed him a five-year sentence – half of which will be served in custody, with the remainder on supervised licence upon his release.

Prior to sentencing, Belfast Crown Court heard the first incident occurred in the early hours of June 6 last year, when McAllister approached a house on the Antrim Road. When the father answered the door, McAllister asked about the whereabouts of another family member, before punching the man in the face and hitting him with a bag of potatoes.

Four days later, the father’s teenage son was attacked by McAllister in the forecourt of a garage on the Antrim Road. McAllister slashed the teenager’s forehead, and when the young victim’s father and grandfather intervened, they sustained hand and other wounds trying to disarm the attacker.

The laceration to the teenager’s forehead required 13 staples, has left him with permanent scarring and was branded a “very substantial injury”.

McAllister was restrained at the scene, and when police arrested him he spat at several officers, as well as assaulting two civilian custody officers at the police station.

He subsequently pleaded guilty to 10 offences including wounding and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Defence barrister Denis Boyd confirmed his client was “clearly out of his head on drink and drugs”, adding that at the time he had a “substance abuse problem”.

Mr Boyd also said that McAllister armed himself with a knife as he was “suffering from a degree of paranoia about being attacked”.

Regarding the offences, Mr Boyd said his client was only 18 at the time, and “deepy regretted his actions”.

Sentencing McAllister, Judge Kerr said it was clear he had addiction issues. Judge Kerr also said: “He accepts what he did, but doesn’t fully accept or understand the effect his actions had on these people.”