Northern Ireland

Darren Moore 'revenge' pub attack: Five men jailed

Darren Moore
Image caption Darren Moore played for Irish League side Crusaders in the 1990s

Five men have been jailed for an attack on a north Belfast loyalist in a County Antrim pub.

Former Irish League footballer Darren Moore was beaten with weapons including a baseball bat and a clawhammer by men at a pub in Doagh in March last year.

Police said there was no excuse for the "prolonged and vicious attack".

The trial heard the 48 year old suffered a number of injuries, including a depressed skull fracture and rib fractures.

Image caption Aaron Cahoon was jailed for 27 months

The judge said the attack had all the hallmarks of a paramilitary beating.

Mr Moore was hit so hard with a baseball bat that it broke in two during the attack.

The men sentenced were:

  • Joshua Wylie, 20, of Galgorm Road, Ballymena - three and a half years in prison and three and a half years on licence
  • David Rush, 36, Ballyvessey Green, Newtownabbey - three years in prison and three on licence
  • Robert Campbell, 33, Clareville Avenue, Ballyclare - 33 months prison, 33 months on licence
  • David Gibson, 45, Milewater Drive, New Mossley - 27 months prison, 27 months on licence
  • Aaron Cahoon, 28, Cherrymount, Newtownabbey - 27 months in prison, 27 on licence
Image caption Robert Campbell was sentenced to 33 months

Wylie, Rush and Campbell had pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent on Mr Moore.

Cahoon and Gibson pleaded guilty to a single charge of aiding and abetting grievous bodily harm.

The judge at Belfast Crown Court said Mr Moore had been "involved in loyalist paramilitary activity'' and the motive for the attack was "revenge as he had fallen out with the group".

After the sentencing, Det Ch Insp Dunny McCubbin said there was often difficulty securing statements from victims in paramilitary-style attacks due to the fear of reprisal.

Image caption David Rush must serve three years in prison

"In this case, there was no co-operation from the victim and witnesses but our robust investigation successfully led to the prosecution of five men involved," he said.

'Beaten until bat broke'

The court had heard that a group of 10 people were captured on CCTV walking into the building, where Mr Moore was sitting drinking with two others.

Seven men then entered the bar and "took an active part in the assault'' with three remaining in the foyer.

Mr Moore was first struck on the head with a clawhammer by a man in a blue-hooded jacket, knocking him to the ground.

Image caption Det Ch Insp Dunny McCubbin said there had been no co-operation from the victim and witnesses

A prosecution barrister said a second man in a dark-hooded jacket, who was not before the court, then hit Mr Moore with what appeared to be a bar while he was on the ground.

He said Wylie also got involved and was a "central player in the assault who can be seen delivering approximately a dozen strikes with a baseball bat".

"He continually beats Mr Moore with the baseball bat whilst he is lying prone on the ground until the baseball bat breaks," said the barrister.

CCTV footage showed Campbell picking up a glass and throwing it at Mr Moore before lifting a bar stool and hitting Mr Moore on the back of the head.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption A car belonging to Aaron Cahoon was seized by police

After the attack, police found the broken baseball bat in the bar.

They identified Campbell from CCTV footage.

'Savage and sustained'

An hour later police recovered Cahoon's Honda Civic in Newtownabbey and found a clawhammer in the rear passenger footwell.

Blood on it matched Moore's DNA, the court heard.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption The clawhammer used to beat Darren Moore was found in Cahoon's car

The judge told the court: "This attack was not spontaneous - it was planned with vehicles used to take people to and from the scene.

"There was a brief reconnaissance of the scene, various weapons including a hammer, a metal bar and a baseball bat were used to attack the victim.

"A cold-blooded decision was taken to give this man a savage and sustained beating at rush hour in a public bar in the middle of the village in Doagh."

Mr Moore played for Irish League side Crusaders for a period in the 1990s.

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