Man jailed for hammer blow on constable
A 19-year old Antrim man who swung a hammer at a police constable during a 'stand off' between two groups of youths in the centre of Belfast has been handed a 12-month jail term.
Alan Christopher Liam Hutchings was caught on CCTV swinging the weapon at the officer on Royal Avenue on February 7 this year.
In Belfast Crown Court on Friday he admitted possessing an offensive weapon, and attempting to commit grievous bodily harm.
Prosecuting barrister Gareth Purvis told Judge Paul Ramsey QC that police were called to Royal Avenue due to a “stand off between two rival groups of youths”. When police arrived a constable brought one youth to the ground.
Hutchings then ran at him from behind, and swung a blow at him with a hammer which the officer deflected. The hammer struck his rib area but caused no injury due to body armour.
Hutchings, who is from Woodland Grove in Antrim and who appeared before the court with 24 previous convictions, was detained and arrested at the scene.
Defence barrister Luke Curran spoke of his client’s “difficult” and “chaotic” childhood, which included living with various relatives and in care homes. The deaths of two relatives had a significant impact on him and he tried to alleviate his suffering by drinking to excess, he said.
Mr Curran said Hutchings has expressed remorse and accepted police should be able to carry out their duties without being attacked.
Judge Ramsey said that after viewing the CCTV footage, it was clear Hutchings did not pre-plan the incident. Branding the incident “very serious” and handing down a 12-month prison sentence, he said: “Thankfully no injuries were sustained by the officer.”