Groom headbutted bride in brutal wedding-day attack

Darren McGeown headbutted his wife and slammed her against the wall outside their bridal suite.

The 30-year-old was handed a prison sentence at Craigavon Magistrates Court last week but is free on bail pending appeal of the four-month term.

Sentencing McGeown, District Judge Bernie Kelly told him: “There were several violent attacks upon this lady that you perpetrated on her wedding day.

“Your three children were at that wedding.”

McGeown, of Railway Street in Armagh, already pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm to his wife within hours of them saying “I do” in August last year.

A prosecution lawyer told the court police were called to a dinner at the Seagoe Hotel in Portadown, where staff said the groom had come into the main wedding room and was very erratic and appeared to be starting a fight.

CCTV footage of the corridor outside the couple’s room showed them having “a heated argument before the defendant became violent”.

The lawyer described how McGeown “put his forehead into the bride’s, before putting his head back and aggressively headbutting her”.

McGeown was also seen pushing his bride against a wall, hitting her head with his fist and flinging her across the corridor, hitting the wall and causing her dress to partially fall off.

He then walked away and returned to the main wedding reception.

McGeown was arrested the following day, still dressed in his wedding suit, which had blood on it.

During police interviews, the defendant admitted headbutting his new bride, but claimed that was because she had “grabbed him by the throat and assaulted him with a hairpiece which had left marks on his ear”.

McGeown’s barrister said his actions “would have been unedifying at the best of times, but for it to happen in the way it did, on the occasion that it was is startling”.

“He knows he is to be punished. He is deeply ashamed,” he added.

“He wants to make amends and put the whole incident behind him and try, if possible and if allowable, to rebuild what he had before this incident.”

Imposing a four-month jail sentence, Judge Kelly said, given the facts and circumstances: “I have no option but to treat this as so serious that there is only one penalty I can impose.”

Although taken to the cells to begin his sentence, McGeown was freed on bail pending appeal four hours later.