Jail for man who headbutted, punched and bit bus driver in 'appalling' attack

Jail for man who headbutted, punched and bit bus driver in 'appalling' attack

A MAN who headbutted, punched and bit a bus driver before shattering a bus shelter during a struggle in Newtownards in what a judge said was one of the worst attacks on a worker serving the public, has been sentenced to 14 months in jail.

Brendan Gilmore (27), formerly of Church View in Portaferry but now with an address listed as Ashlea Place in Lisburn, appeared at Newtownards Magistrates' Court on Monday.

He previously pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and causing criminal damage to a bus shelter by being "reckless" in connection with October last year and was at court for sentencing.

A prosecutor said at 7.15pm on 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 was 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 outside the bus the driver was bitten twice on his arm by the defendant, "leaving teeth marks".

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 bus driver attended hospital and received five stitches to his hand.

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

The defendant told police he had been "intoxicated" and could not recall the events.

A defence lawyer said alcohol was the "root cause" of the incident and the defendant is "very ashamed".

He had been off alcohol for a "substantial period" as part of bail conditions.

Jailing Gilmore for ten months for the offences before the court and activating a four months suspended sentence, District Judge Mark Hamill said the bus incident was "one of the worst incidents of assault on a public servant I have come across".

He said the bus driver was "simply trying to do his job" when he was "headbutted, beaten, bitten" by Gilmore in an "appalling assault".

The judge said Gilmore was a "danger to the public".

Bail in the sum of £400 was fixed pending appeal of the sentence.

  • Main picture: The incident took place at Gibsons Larne in Newtownards. Picture: Google Street View.