Court hears how man helped kick down door and attack couple in search for their daughter

Court hears how man helped kick down door and attack couple in search for their daughter
Ben Merriman outside court today. Pic: collins

A man helped to kick down a door and attack a couple in their home while searching for their daughter, a court has heard.

Ben Merriman (aged 20) of Kenmore Heights, Greystones, Wicklow, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault, trespass and criminal damage at a house in Flemington Lane, Balbriggan, Dublin, on March 27, 2018.

Garda John Delaney told prosecuting counsel that on the day in question Merriman and his co-accused approached the house shouting “Where's Chloe? We're going to kill her.”

His co-accused hit the front door with a metal bar and smashed a living room window before they both succeeded in kicking the door down. They confronted Chloe's parents and demanded to know where she was.

The mother told them she was upstairs, but after they failed to find her there Merriman spat in her face. The other man threatened to “slice her from ear to ear”.

The other man then struck the father in the head with the metal bar and continued to strike him while he was on the ground, while Merriman kicked him. The other man said that if they did not find Chloe they would come back.

Gda Delaney accepted that the other man was the main aggressor and had inflicted most of the injuries. He also accepted that Merriman was following his co-accused out of “blind loyalty” and that he had good reason to be fearful of him.

Merriman has no previous convictions and has not come to garda attention since the incident. The court heard that the incident stemmed from the other man wanting to see his former partner and believed she would be at the house.

Defence counsel said that his client unreservedly apologised and was deeply ashamed of his actions. Merriman has cut off all contact with the other man.

Judge Melanie Greally adjourned the matter to November 5 next and ordered that Merriman keep the peace and be of good behaviour and follow all directions of the probation service until that date.

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