Bus driver headbutted, punched and bitten by passenger

Bus driver headbutted, punched and bitten by passenger

A MAN who became aggressive after getting on the wrong bus in Newtownards headbutted, punched and bit the driver before falling through a bus shelter during a struggle outside the vehicle.

The bus driver required five stitches to a hand injury at the Ulster Hospital.

Details emerged at Newtownards Magistrates' Court regarding Brendan Gilmore (27), formerly of Church View in Portaferry but now with an address listed as Ashlea Place in Lisburn, who has admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He also admitted causing criminal damage to a bus shelter by being "reckless".

A charge of resisting a police officer in the execution of his duty was withdrawn by prosecutors.

A prosecutor said at 7.15pm on Saturday October 9 last year police were called to Gibsons Lane, Newtownards, in response to a report of a Translink bus driver being assaulted.

Police saw a smashed bus shelter and the defendant had been restrained.

The bus driver told police Gilmore appeared intoxicated when he boarded the bus and appeared to be looking in his pockets for a ticket which he couldn't find and he told the driver to take him to Portaferry.

When told the bus was going to Belfast the defendant became "agitated and aggressive, shouting abuse around the bus".

The driver was concerned for passengers including young children and the elderly and when he exited his cabin he was headbutted on the nose by Gilmore and was punched twice on the face.

The prosecutor said the bus driver then put the defendant off the bus and was bitten on the arm by the defendant, "leaving teeth marks".

During a struggle both men fell through a bus shelter "causing injuries to both parties".

The prosecutor said the bus driver's account was corroborated by other witnesses.

The court heard Gilmore was restrained by members of the public until police arrived.

He became aggressive and verbally abusive to police when arrested.

A defence lawyer said Gilmore was "very aware" of how serious the case was.

At an earlier hearing, a defence lawyer had said because the defendant had been intoxicated his recollections of what happened "weren't good".

That hearing had been told Gilmore was "ashamed" of what happened and the court had been told: "Alcohol is the downfall of this man".

At court this week, District Judge Mark Hamill said: "Assaulting a public servant in the course of his public service is an extremely serious situation".

The case was adjourned to the end of June for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

  • Main picture: The incident happened in this area of Newtownards. Picture: Google Streetview.