Bessbrook toddler attacker jailed for 13 years

June 12, 2017

A man convicted of inflicting ‘life-changing injuries’ on a Bessbrook toddler three years ago has been handed a 13 and a half year prison sentence.  29 year old Darren Eamonn Fagan, who is originally from Portadown,  had already been told to expect a jail term  after he admitted that he had punched the two year old girl to her head whilst staying over at the child’s home in Bessbrook in October 2014.

Fagan, who has a previous conviction for assaulting the 20 month old child of a former partner, claimed the child “would not stop crying” and that he wanted peace to watch the X Factor on TV.

At his trial last month, he pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent while the prosecution asked that an attempted murder charge be “left on the books”.

During sentencing at Belfast Crown Court on Friday, Judge Geoffrey Miller QC described the assault and Fagan’s subsequent attempt to blame the child’s mother for the injuries as “cowardly, vindictive and shameful.”

The 29 year old was also handed an extended custodial sentence of three years “for the protection of the public” after the judge assessed him as posing a danger to society.  He was told he will have to serve half his 13 and a half year sentence in jail before the Parole Commissioners decide whether it is safe to release him back into the community.  If assessed as being safe to be freed from custody Fagan will spend the rest of his sentence, plus the extended custodial term, on supervised licence.

Judge Miller was told that the defendant had an “extensive criminal record’’ including convictions for violence and that the Probation Service had assessed him as “dangerous” with a “high likelihood of reoffending and a significant risk of serious harm” to the public in the future.

Passing sentence, Judge Miller highlighted the “ongoing trauma” for the family.

“This will have life-long consequences for the child and family members for which this defendant must bear sole responsibility,” he said.