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Strongman who left victim with fractured face and skull in ‘road rage’ incident jailed

"...too many times in this court people are being killed in these exact circumstances."

Sean O'Hagan

A well-known professional strongman has been jailed following a violent assault which left his victim with fractures to his face and skull.

Thirty-four-year-old Sean O’Hagan, dressed in a grey suit, spent the majority of his sentencing hearing at Craigavon Crown Court on Friday with his head bowed as CCTV footage of a sickening attack, on a man less than half his size, was played for His Honour Judge Patrick Lynch KC.

Crown prosecutor Ian Tannahill described the assault, which occurred on July 21, 2021, as a “road rage incident”.

O’Hagan, from Church View Way in Laurencetown, was driving a silver Audi when he made contact with the victim’s vehicle, which was being driven by his wife at the time. Their 14-year-old daughter was also in the car at the time.

O’Hagan failed to stop prompting the victim’s wife to follow the silver Audi to the Bluestone Business Park in Craigavon.

The CCTV clip was then shown to the court.

Recalling the testimony of the victim’s wife, Judge Lynch, read: “My husband is a mild mannered man, never aggressive or violent. [O’Hagan] was swearing and shouting at my husband, saying things like ‘f*****g stupid c***, she’s f*****g hit my car’.

“I don’t remember my husband saying anything. I think he just took his phone out to capture the Audi’s number plate. [O’Hagan] went up to my husband and pushed him two or three times.

“My husband put his arm up to defend himself. [O’Hgaan] grabbed my husband’s phone, threw it into another courtyard and said ‘take a picture of my car now you c***.’

“Then [O’Hagan] struck my husband in the face with a closed fist. My husband fell to the ground hard – I screamed in complete fear. My 14-year-old daughter was in the car. She was traumatised.”

Mr Tannahill, in summarising the contents of the CCTV footage, described how four minutes pass and the victim is still not off the ground such was the force of the attack.

The victim suffered a fractured eye socket, cheekbone and a fracture to the base of his skull.

Seamus Lannon, defending, asked for credit for his client’s early plea and alluded to the delay in the case; a delay which, Mr Lannon argued, may have resulted in a lesser sentence given O’Hagan’s conviction record since.

He also drew the judge’s attention to the fact O’Hagan would have been using steroids, given his profession as a competitive stongman and that may have contributed to his actions on that day.

Judge Lynch, in passing sentence, said: “You attacked this unfortunate man, who was simply doing what he’s perfectly entitled to, and that is to ascertain the identity of an individual who was involved in an accident.

“You also seem to drive in at great speed, into the premises in question, which will indicate that you knew exactly what happened and you’re annoyed at this individual having the temerity, in your view, to follow you and ascertain your identity.

“You are fortunate not to be charged with a Section 18 assault which comes with a life sentence….too many times in this court people are being killed in these exact circumstances.”

The victim was forced to eat through a straw.

Judge Lynch added: “To attack a 52-year-old, who is hardly half your size, is beyond the comprehension of this court.”

O’Hagan was handed a 28-month sentence – half of which will be served on licence – for the charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and a concurrent three month sentence for attempted criminal damage.

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