Carrickfergus pub stabbing: Man jailed for broken glass attack

Stock image of Laganside court building in Belfast seen from across street
-Credit: (Image: Belfast Live)


A 53-year old who stabbed a man in the neck with a piece of broken glass in a Carrickfergus pub was handed a four-year sentence on Friday.

Christopher Stephen Donnelly, whose address was given as ‘no fixed abode’, was told he will spend two years in prison followed by two years on licence.

Belfast Crown Court heard that after smashing a bottle in the gents toilets, Donnelly used this as a weapon to attack a fellow customer.

CCTV footage of the incident, which occurred in Jacqs’s Bar in the Co Antrim town on the evening of June 10, 2022, was played at Belfast Crown Court.

Prior to launching the attack, the two men - who knew each other - had been chatting and at one point Donnelly offered to buy the injured party a drink.

Towards the end of the evening, the injured party was approached by Donnelly. He thought Donnelly was trying to give him a hug until he felt a sharp pain to the left side of his neck. He was initially unaware he’d been stabbed until Donnelly was pulled away by other people in the pub.

Police were called and when Donnelly was cautioned, he made no reply. Around ten minutes later, he told officers: “The fact is, I wanted to kill that guy. I broke it in the toilet. I’m sorry I missed my opportunity. People like that don’t deserve to breathe.”

Further comments made by Donnelly to police included him saying “I walked straight up to him and tried to stick it in his neck but it didn’t work”.

The injured party was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital where he received stitches for a one-cm laceration. Judge Donna McColgan KC said that given the circumstances “the injury sustained was entirely fortuitous”.

The wounded man spoke to police in the aftermath of the attack and said he believed he would have been killed if Donnelly hadn’t been pulled off him by others in the pub. Following his arrest and despite earlier admissions, Donnelly gave a ‘no comment’ response when interviewed by police.

He continued to maintain his innocence before entering a guilty plea to a charge of wounding with intent at a subsequent court appearance.

Crown barrister Natalie Pinkerton cited several aggravating factors which included the use of a weapon and the attack occurring in a public place.

Defence barrister Neil Connor KC said Donnelly has been diagnosed with alcohol dependency syndrome which he said was a “serious medical condition” and which was highlighted in various defence reports.

This, he said, was sparked by traumatic and adverse childhood experiences which have also resulted in serious mental health issues.

Regarding the offence, the barrister added that whilst his client did go into the gents toilets and smash a bottle which he then used as a weapon, there was a “limited degree of pre-meditation”.

Mr Connor added that at the time, Donnelly was “mentally ill”.

As she sentenced Donnelly, Judge McColgan said she had taken into account his mental ill health which stems from childhood issues, his dependance on alcohol and the remorse he has now expressed.

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