Gang Jailed For Appalling Head Shave Attack On Vulnerable Young Woman
Three men who shaved a girl’s head as she lay unconscious and a woman who filmed the attack have been jailed for the “appalling” assault.
The female victim had her head dry-shaved by three men who then tried to burn the remainder of her hair while she lay comatose.
After the attack in Ballymena, Co Antrim, the woman was then slapped by the trio as the episode was filmed on a mobile phone in May 2013, the Irish Mirror reports.
On Wednesday the woman doing the filming – Paula Wilson, 22, of Main Street in Cullybackey, Co Antrim – was handed a 32-month sentence, half to be served in custody and half on supervised licence.
Wilson – who the court heard gave three conflicting versions of events – admitted two counts of aiding and abetting assault occasioning actual bodily harm and aiding and abetting common assault.
Alan Lewis – PhotopressBelfast.co.ukJailed: Paula Wilson outside Belfast Crown Court
Three of her co-accused were also jailed for their part in the attack on the victim, who Judge Donna McColgan described as “comatose” and “extremely vulnerable”.
Paul Joshua Balmer, 42, of Crosshill Views in Kells, Co Antrim, denied involvement and contested the matter but was found guilty by a jury at Antrim Crown Court last September.
Balmer, who committed the offences two days after he was freed from HMP Magilligan, was found guilty of two charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault.
The heroin addict, who has 261 previous convictions, was given a five-year term, half of which will be spent in prison with the rest on licence.
His co-accused – Alister William Hamilton, of Drumtara, and Nathan Telford, of Wilson Avenue, both Ballymena – admitted causing actual bodily harm and common assault.
Alan Lewis – PhotopressBelfast.co.uk“Disgraceful behaviour”: Nathan Telford was said to lack any remorse or insight into his behaviour
Hamilton, 23, was given 36 months, split between custody and supervised licence.
The court heard he was the only one who made admissions to police and it was accepted his remorse was real.
Telford, also 23, was handed a 40-month sentence, half in custody and half on licence.
Judge McColgan spoke of his “disgraceful behaviour” towards the victim, who he invited to the flat, and said he lacked remorse or insight about the impact the attack had on her.
After passing sentence at Antrim Crown Court sitting in Belfast, Judge McColgan said: “Should this case come before the Court of Appeal, then that court should be shown the recorded footage of the entire episode.”
The footage in question was shown to the jury at Balmer’s trial and last December when Wilson, Telford and Hamilton were due to be sentenced.
Alan Lewis – PhotopressBelfast.co.ukAlister Hamilton: The 23-year-old was jailed for 36 months
The 10-minute video showed the unconscious victim having her eyebrows shaved before her hair was dry-shaved by the three men.
Using disposable razors, at one stage the footage shows three pairs of hands shaving her hair at the same time.
One of the men was heard joking: “No point in going easy on her, we can"t send her away with a poor haircut,” and then asked others: “Will we just shave the whole head. I am a democratic sort of person, if you want to baldy her, baldy her.”
An attempt was then made to set part of the woman’s hair on fire, with jokes being made by her attackers about setting off the fire alarm.
She was then slapped several times by Balmer, Telford and Hamilton.
During yesterday’s sentencing, Judge McColgan said the footage depicted “the most appalling acts of degradation of a young woman”.
The film, which was recorded between May 17 and 25, 2013, came to police attention when Wilson was arrested in relation to a separate offence.
Alan Lewis – PhotopressBelfast.co.ukConflicting stories: Paula Wilson gave authorities three different versions of events about that night
Police knew nothing of the attack on the woman until Wilson was arrested by police investigating the attack on body-in-the-bin victim Adam Robinson, who was found naked and bound inside a taped-up wheelie bin.
It had been hidden in dense undergrowth in Ballymena and was found by a dog walker in September 2013. Wilson is due to be sentenced later this year along with two men for her part in the attack.
When Wilson was arrested for the attack on the then 21-year-old, police seized her mobile phone, and uncovered the shocking head-shaving footage.
As well as the film, there were also multiple images of the injured party and the four defendants.
The attack had gone unreported because the vulnerable victim, who had no recollection of the attack, was petrified and traumatised and had fled the Co Antrim town.
Wilson, who the court heard was expelled from school and technical college and had been sacked from two jobs, gave varying accounts of the attack to professionals.
While she told one doctor she was so drunk she couldn’t remember the event, she told another she had a clear memory as she hadn’t taken that much drink.