Taxi driver guilty of attempted murder

Published Wednesday, 04 December 2013
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A taxi driver, who drove a car into a crowd of people standing outside an east Belfast pub, has been found guilty of two counts of attempted murder.

Taxi driver guilty of attempted murder
The Great Eastern Bar in east Belfast. (© UTV)

Michael Porter, 34, was found guilty of attempting to murder Paul Thompson and Daniel Martin in the early hours of 19 December, 2011.

Originally from north Belfast, Porter, whose address was given as Glen Court in Newtownards, was found not guilty of attempting to murder a third man, Christopher McKay, but guilty of causing him grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving.

During a week-long trial at Belfast Crown Court, the jury was told Porter, his brother and his friend Paul Thompson - one of the men who was seriously injured in the incident - had been drinking in a city centre bar before Porter drove them to the Great Eastern Bar in east Belfast in his ex-partner's Passat.

Porter parked the car on Hornby Street, which was right beside the bar.

During their time in the pub, the trio felt they were being stared at and after words were exchanged with local revellers, they left.

Mr Thompson was assaulted and knocked unconscious in the street and moments later the Passat, which was driven to the area by Porter, was seen to exit Hornby Street and drive right into a crowd standing outside the pub.

One eyewitness told the court the car "knocked people over like skittles."

The car did a u-turn and drove at speed down the road, hitting the unconscious Mr Thompson as he lay on the road, and the prone body of Mr Martin who lay injured after being struck by the Passat as it exited Hornby Street.

Both men sustained serious injuries in the incident, including multiple fractures.

Mr McKay also sustained injuries when the car drove into the crowd.

Porter denied that he was the driver, saying that when he saw his friend being attacked outside the pub, he fled the scene and stayed at a friend's house.

His version of events was rejected by the jury, who found him guilty of attempting to murder two men and grievously injuring a third.

Defence barrister Mark Farrell asked that Porter be released on bail, but Judge Corinne Philpott QC rejected the request and remanded him in custody.

Porter is due to be sentenced on Friday, 10 January.

© UTV News
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