Man jailed for bottle attack on girl, nine

Man jailed for bottle attack on girl, nine

Abbie Keers after the incident

Matthew McCrea

Abbie a few days after the incident

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Durham)

A NINE-year-old gymnast who will be scarred for life after a drunken yob hurled a beer bottle through a car window asks her family if she is now ugly, a court heard.

After drinking 15 bottles of beer, Matthew McCrea recklessly threw one at a passing Fiat Punto, shattering one of its windows.

Schoolgirl Abbie Keers, a front-seat passenger, was covered in glass, suffering horrific cuts to her nose and above her eye.

She will be permanently scarred, suffers pain every day and can no longer swim, her grandmother Sandra Webb, who was driving the car, told Durham Crown Court through a victim impact statement today (Thursday, August 28).

“Abbie asked me if she is ugly because of the scar because she looked in the mirror and she said she doesn’t look the same, she looks different.

“When I heard what she said it was as painful as the night it happened, seeing her face covered in blood, shards of glass in her face, and being unable to do anything to help her.”

McCrea, who admitted assault causing actual bodily harm, was sentenced to eight months in prison.

Judge Penny Moreland said McCrea had not intended the consequences of his actions but an immediate prison sentence was “unavoidable”.

Afterwards, Mrs Webb said she was pleased McCrea had been locked up, as it would bring the family closure.

Abbie has “gone into herself” and doesn’t talk much since the incident, she added.

“We’ve got to keep going with Abbie and keep building her confidence. As a family we’re trying to rally round her.”

McCrea had been binge drinking before recklessly flinging the bottle onto the dual carriageway A693 Stanley town centre bypass in County Durham at about 10.30pm on Friday, February 14.

Mrs Webb was driving her daughter Clare, Abbie and Abbie’s sister Lexi, three, to Shotley Bridge Hospital as Lexi was unwell.

McCrea, 24, of Tyne Vale, Stanley, hurled the bottle from near a pedestrian underpass of the A693.

Following the incident, Abbie was taken to hospital, where she stayed overnight and underwent plastic surgery the next day.

Liam O’Brien, mitigating, said McCrea was genuinely devastated by the consequences of his actions and was ashamed and disgusted by his behaviour.

He wanted to express his remorse and apologise to his victims, Mr O’Brien added.

“He and his family are shocked and appalled he could be responsible for the terrible injuries that were caused to this poor young girl.”

Afterwards, Sergeant Michael McGowan said he hoped the sentence would provide the family with some comfort and the platform they need to begin to move forward with their lives.

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