Banned from Newtownabbey over ‘gruesome’ assault

A RATHCOOLE man accused of biting part of a woman’s ear off during an incident at a pub on the Doagh Road earlier this year has been ordered to keep out of Newtownabbey as part of his bail conditions.

Craig Wright, 20, of Green Walk, faces a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

During a bail hearing last week, the High Court in Belfast heard how the 19-year-old woman’s ear was partially bitten off in the attack at the Cloughfern Arms in May.

Crown counsel claimed Mr Wright first approached the woman on the dance floor of the public house

The barrister told the hearing that the accused was crying and talked about having just buried a friend.

It was claimed that Mr Wright became aggressive, despite the woman trying to console him.

She tried to get away from him and went outside to have a cigarette, only to be followed by the accused, the court heard.

Crown counsel said the woman’s account was that Mr Wright offered to fight her, swinging a punch but missing.

During a subsequent scuffle she was forced to the ground and had part of her ear bitten off, the court heard.

Although the section of her ear was recovered, surgeons at the Ulster Hospital could not reattach it.

Mr Wright later went to a police station with his parents and was arrested.

He said he had been drinking and taking drugs, and claimed to have no recollection of what happened.

The court was told that after being charged, he said: “If I did commit this gruesome crime I am deeply and meaningfully sorry.”

A defence barrister confirmed that his client was a close friend of 21-year-old Aaron Hogg, who committed suicide days before the incident while on remand in prison.

The barrister added: “It is accepted that the nature of the case is a very unpleasant one.”

Following the presentation of reports, Mr Justice McCloskey ruled that Mr Wright was suitable for bail “by a narrow margin.”

The judge ordered him to live at an agreed address in Belfast, banning him from being in Newtownabbey other than to visit his mother.

Mr Wright was also prohibited from taking drink or illegal drugs, curfewed and subjected to electronic monitoring.

He is due to appear in court again on September 21.