A former soldier who was part of a masked and armed gang that attacked a man with hammers has been sent to prison.
Desmond John William Lundy was handed a 40-month sentence at Belfast Crown Court and will spend half of the term behind bars, with the remaining 20 months spent on licence upon his release.
The 40-year-old, from Abbey Ring in Holywood, admitted assaulting the man and intimidating him from his home.
The court heard that around 9.50pm on July 20, 2016, the victim was in his north Belfast home when he was subjected to what Judge David McFarland called a “horrific attack”.
As the occupant watched TV, a masked man forced his way into the property after smashing a window with a hammer. This armed man then swung the hammer at the occupant’s arm, shouting: “You have 24 hours to get out.”
Crown prosecutor Sam Magee said two other males, who were also wearing balaclavas and brandishing hammers, smashed their through the front door.
The occupant was beaten with the hammers by the three-man gang. The incident lasted around 10 minutes before the intruders left.
As a result of the hammer attack, the occupant suffered significant soft tissue bruising and injuries to both arms and legs, as well as a puncture wound to his arm. He subsequently required hospital treatment at the Royal.
Following a police investigation, officers searched Lundy’s home several months after the incident, and located a hammer sitting on top of a clock in the hall which bore the beaten man’s blood.
When he was interviewed by police, Lundy could not provide an explanation for the victim’s blood on the hammer.
Defence barrister Richard McConkey described the July 2016 incident as a “one-off” and said that had the case gone to trial, the victim would have been reluctant to come to court.
Mr McConkey also said that after serving in the Army, Lundy had experienced adjustment issues “having seen serious conflict around the globe” and “struggled with a return to civilian life”.
Passing sentence, Judge McFarland said that while the Crown was unable to say which of the males was Lundy, it was largely irrelevant as all three were involved and were equally culpable.
The Belfast Recorder also highlighted Lundy’s criminal record of 50 previous convictions.