Cookstown man punched his sleeping friend ‘in row over a girl’

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A man who was found guilty of punching his friend while he was sleeping has been given a suspended prison sentence.

The court heard how Patrick Alphonsus Oliver McNally, 38, from Ballynagilly Lane in Cookstown, rang the doorbell of a house on Muff Road in the early hours of November 23 last year and asked to see his friend.

The householder left the defendant on the doorstep while he went to wake his son, but McNally entered the residence and walked to his friend’s bedroom and assaulted him, causing minor injuries. He then exited the building shouting that he would kill the injured party if he saw him again.

Police were called and learned the defendant’s name and address. He subsequently admitted the offence and said that it had been a “heat of the moment thing” caused by a dispute over a girl.

His solicitor, Mr Fintan McAleer, said that it was his client’s first ever appearance at court and he asked the judge to treat it as a “one off”.

District Judge John Meehan told the defendant that he “could understand if he had been told that he was 18 rather than 38” and advised him that it would’ve been an immediate custodial sentence if he had not shown “genuine remorse”. He imposed a prison sentence of two months which he suspended for two years as well as a £200 fine and an offender’s levy of £15.