Ordering Jamie Edgar to serve a year of his sentence in jail, Judge Alistair Devlin told the 34-year-old the offence had been a “completely unprovoked, wanton, sustained and violent physical attack on the victim, carried out primarily for no other reason than you had voluntarily grossly intoxicated yourself with alcohol to the extent that your cognitive functioning was grossly undermined”.
The Antrim Crown Court judge explained he was ordering Edgar to complete two years of the sentence under licence to help and support him as he begins to tackle the diagnosed PTSD he developed from serving in Iraq and because, according to the defendant, he has abstained from alcohol since the incident.
“Whether these changes remain in place, is substantially down to you,” Judge Devlin told Edgar.
On the day his trial was to to start earlier this year Edgar, from Dundooan Park in Coleraine, entered a guilty plea to inflicting grievous bodily harm on his victim with intent.
Summarising the case during his sentencing remarks on Friday, Judge Devlin outlined how the victim and his friend had been out socialising on March 15, 2020 when they got a taxi back to Plantation View in Limavady where the friend lived.
Edgar, who lived nearby at the time, had been in his house drinking all evening and by coincidence, he was outside when the taxi pulled up and he dragged the victim out of the vehicle before launching his rain of punches.
While the victim could only remember the first blow, Judge Devlin said his friend had told police Edgar approached them demanding to know “are you here to [have sex with] my wife” before he felled the victim with punches to the head.
With victim on the ground and “completely defenceless,” Edgar hit him again but even though he got up, the judge said the friend described him as “groggy and totally out of it.”
“You punched him again to the head and he was knocked down again and rendered unconscious,” the judge told Edgar adding that “you then calmed down and tried to lift the injured party up but were, unsurprisingly, told to go away by his friend.”
While the police arrested Edgar, an ambulance took the victim to Altnagelvin Hospital where he was found to have sustained a fractured skull, bleeding and swelling to his brain, a broken cheek bone as well as general cuts and bruises.
Forced to have surgery to mend his cheekbone, the victim spent five days in hospital and the judge revealed the according to a victim impact statement, the victim’s facial injuries were such they he didn’t allow his kids to see him for a month.
When his daughter next saw her daddy, “she ran out of the house in tears because of the way he looked,” said the judge, outlining to Edgar that even now, three years since the attack, his victim “finds it difficult to put into words the pain that he lives with everyday.”
Judge Devlin said while Edgar had accepted his guilt, albeit on the morning of his trial and had expressed remorse and shame, there were also aggravating features to the “completely and utterly unprovoked” beating including his excessive alcohol consumption, hitting the victim multiple blows including when he was unconscious and the fact that it was carried out in a public street, in a residential where some neighbours witnessed what happened.