Tried to strangle taxi driver with seat belt


A Lurgan man who attacked a taxi driver and tried to strangle him with his seat belt was sentenced to a total of five months in prison last Wednesday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

He was 42-year-old Brendan McAlinden, Ballynamoney Road, and he admitted the assault which happened on January 23 this year.

For an assault on a female he was given a concurrent five month term while concurrent four month terms were imposed for assault on police and resisting police.

McAlinden was also given a three month sentence for disorderly behaviour.

The court heard that at approximately 12.20am a taxi pulled up outside Lurgan police station and began sounding its horn.

McAlinden was shouting and swearing at the taxi driver and told police to ‘f—k off’.

His partner also tried to calm him down but he struck her with his left hand. He then raised his right hand as if to strike police and struggled violently.

The taxi driver said McAlinden had threatened to beat him up and grabbed his seat belt and tried to choke him with it. He was also struck twice on the head.

Mr Peter Murphy, representing the defendant, said McAlinden had received a suspended sentence in May of this year.

He explained that for 40 years the defendant had stayed out of trouble but in the last couple of years had committed alcohol fuelled offences.

Mr Murphy said that McAlinden’s marriage had come to an end and he had turned to alcohol but he had not taken any since January this year.

He added that the court could see from the pre-sentence report that the defendant’s partner was seriously ill and that was another reason he had ‘wised up’.

District Judge, Mr Mervyn Bates, pointed out that she had told the defendant about the illness just before this incident ‘and this is how she was repaid’.

Mr Murphy said that McAlinden was a taxi driver himself for a time and thought he was being charged an exorbitant amount.

Judge Bates said McAlinden had been given a suspended sentence and community service and this time struck his partner and attempted to strangle a taxi driver. The sentence would be immediate custody.

Mr Murphy said he had taken instructions from his client and asked for bail to appeal against the sentence. McAlinden was released on his own bail of £500 pending appeal.