Man denies attacking doorman in Ballyclare

Ballyclare Town Hall.
Ballyclare Town Hall.

A Co Antrim man appeared in court on Wednesday accused of attacking the doorman of a football club with a machete.

Simon Esler, from Waterfall Road in Carnlough, has been charged with, but denies, two offences arising from an incident outside Ballyclare Football Club last summer.

The 27-year-old denies wounding the doorman with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm, and of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.

It is the Crown’s case that as he attacked the doorman with a machete, Esler shouted “you were in my house and you pointed a gun at my pregnant wife”.

A jury at Belfast Crown Court heard that there was no question the doorman was attacked, but the issue was the identity of the attacker as Esler has denied it was him.

Prosecuting barrister Peter Magill said the incident occurred outside the football and social club situated on The Square in Ballyclare on June 20 last year.

As the injured party stood at the door, a blue Volkwagen Passat pulled up and a man brandishing a machete got out of the vehicle with a “long-bladed instrument”.

Mr Magill said the weapon in question was “the sort of thing that jungle explorers use to chop their way through the Amazon”, and was used to strike the doorman at least three times.

He sustained wounds to his arm, abdomen and thigh, as well as an undisplaced fracture to his forearm. The slash wounds were dealt with by paper stitches.

Mr Magill said the fact a machete was used, and the doorman was struck three times, indicated that the attacker “clearly had the intent to cause serious injury”.

The doorman later identified Esler as his attacker.

The court heard that whilst this attack was taking place, an entertainer who had been peforming in the football club that night was outside having a smoke. He saw the blue Passat pull up outside the club, he saw a man get out holding a machete, and he heard that man tell the doorman “you were in my house and you pointed a gun at my pregnant wife”. He also saw the doorman being attacked with the machete.

The entertainer noted the Passat’s registration and when he later gave this to police, he told officers he wasn’t sure he recalled it correctly and may have got some of the digits muddled up.

When police checked the number he gave them, it was not registered to any vehicle. However, when police switched two of the numbers around, they discovered the plate was registered to a blue Passat belonging to Esler.

Police then called to Esler’s home, but neither he nor the vehicle were present. Mr Magill said the Passat was later recovered by officers parked up at outbuildings a short distance from his mother’s house.

Mr Magill also told the jury that eight months before the machete attack, Esler went to the PSNI to report a home invasion. In a statement later made to police, Esler and his partner, who was pregnant at the time, said masked men had forced their way into their home.

Esler’s partner said that whilst she told him to flee from the gang, a gun was pointed at her.

At hearing.