Northern Ireland

Belfast man punched women and schoolboy in the Shankill

A man who launched unprovoked attacks on three women and a schoolboy has been put on probation for two years.

Michael Paul was also ordered to pay compensation to each victim he punched on the face following a drinking session.

The 25-year-old of Glencairn Walk in Belfast, pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated assault.

The charges related to attacks at Peter's Hill in the Shankill district last November.

During a sentencing hearing at Belfast Magistrates Court on Tuesday, a judge was told they appeared to have been unprovoked.

Defence solicitor Denis Moloney said his client had been drinking with friends and took "one too many".

The lawyer told the court Paul had immediately admitted his actions to police and asked them to put him in jail straight away.

"If anybody had done that to his girlfriend or partner he wouldn't have taken it very lightly", Mr Moloney added.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall indicated that Paul's guilty plea and the help he required saved him from a possible suspended jail sentence.

She instead imposed two years probation and ordered him to undergo an alcohol and drugs counselling programme.

Paul must also pay £100 compensation to each of his four victims.