Jail term increased for man who jumped 20 times on victim’s head

Scales of Justice
Scales of Justice

The prison term imposed on a man who beat his victim unconscious and then jumped on his head 20 times was unduly lenient, the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday.

Senior judges increased Michael Loughlin’s sentence from seven to 11 years for attempting to murder a man in Banbridge, Co Down in July 2017.

The 22-year-old, of Iveagh Close in the town, will serve half that period in jail and the remainder on licence.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan held that the ferocity of the “horrendous, brutal assault” carried out while Loughlin was on drugs were aggravating features.

He said: “This was a persistent attack over a prolonged period where the victim’s face was pummelled by the offender’s fists and his head was subject to repeated stamping.

“Much of this continued after the victim’s body had gone limp, he was offering no resistance and was incapable of any self-protection.”

Loughlin targeted the 40-year-old man outside his Scarva Walk home in the middle of the afternoon following an encounter with his brother.

CCTV showed the victim being attacked from behind and punched in the face over and over again while held to the ground.

Footage depicted him lying unconscious on a landing close to his flat, with Loughlin’s hands drenched in his blood.

“The offender continued the assault in a frenzied and uncontrolled fashion by repeatedly kicking and jumping on his head, landing in excess of 20 such blows in a prolonged and persistent action,” Sir Declan noted.

Despite a co-accused trying to pull Loughlin away, he was only stopped by the sound of police sirens.

When he was arrested at the scene his trousers and trainers were covered in the man’s blood.

The victim spent days in intensive care, sustained multiple facial fractures and still suffers disturbing dreams and post-traumatic stress.

In May 2018 Loughlin pleaded guilty to attempted murder shortly before he was due to go on trial. He subsequently received a seven-year sentence, half in prison and half on licence.

Lawyers representing the Director of Public Prosecutions argued that the term imposed was too lenient.

Backing their case, the Court of Appeal cited Loughlin’s criminal record and the circumstances surrounding a “frightening attack” carried out in full view of those on the street.

“Members of the public going about their everyday business need to be protected from being exposed to the apprehensions caused by seeing such violence,” Sir Declan said.

“The original sentence was unduly lenient and we substitute for it the period of 11 years.”

Loughlin was also ordered to serve a further three months on a previously suspended sentence for earlier offences.