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Bessbrook man who repeatedly kicked and punched victim as he stole bicycle jailed

Stephen Pentony from Bessbrook

A south Armagh robber who repeatedly kicked and punched his victim as he stole his bicycle and phone has been jailed.

Handing Stephen Pentony a 45-month sentence at Newry Crown Court on Thursday, Judge Gordon Kerr KC ordered the 31-year-old to serve half that in jail and half under supervised licence conditions.

He said that despite being effectively caught red handed Pentony, from Wilton Grove in Bessbrook, had only entered a guilty plea to robbery at the very last moment – on the day his second trial was due to start.

Summarising the case during his sentencing remarks, the judge outlined how police were called to an ongoing assault in the city on the afternoon of January last year.

Most of the attack was captured on CCTV cameras and that showed Pentony walking up to the victim, grabbing his mobile phone and punching him so hard that “he fell to the ground”.

“The defendant started kicking and punching him while he was on the ground,” said the judge adding that Pentony’s accomplice then ran up and joined in the assault.

Judge Kerr said Pentony can be seen “punching the victim ten times while he was on the ground and kicking him to the body at least three times”.

The victim, a man in his 30s, manages to get up but Pentony punches him back to the ground before the two assailants “walk off with the bike” and the victim’s mobile phone.

“The bicycle was recovered later while the victim sustained several scraps to his face, bruising and a possible fractured nose,” said the judge.

Jailing Pentony, Judge Kerr said it was clear that he had played a “more significant role” than the other attacker so his culpability “far exceeds” that of his accomplice and it was an aggravating factor that he had repeatedly kicked the victim and attacked him while he was on the ground.

Pentony’s 21 previous convictions was also an aggravating feature, said the judge, and revealed that amongst his previous offending he had committed numerous assaults.

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