Thomas O'Reilly remanded in custody on murder bid charge

A man who has admitted trying to murder his wife by stabbing her, trying to suffocate her with his hands and with a pillow and by attempting to break her neck, has been remanded in custody.

Thomas Fitzgerald O'Reilly, 44, admitted to police that he had attempted to murder his wife, a nurse.

He also admitted assaulting their 16-year-old son.

The incidents happened at the family home at Munalohug Road near Dungiven, County Londonderry, on Monday.

A police officer told Londonderry Magistrates Court that throughout the couple's 23-year marriage there had been periods of physical and mental abuse that the defendant's wife had not reported.

Screaming

She said that on Sunday the defendant returned from England to talk to his wife about their marriage after she had told him she wished to end their relationship.

After they spoke they then told their children about their conversation.

Several hours later the defendant went into his wife's bedroom armed with a knife. The officer said the defendant stabbed his wife through her nightdress "but thankfully the blade came away".

He then jumped on top of his wife, attempted to suffocate her with a pillow and with his hands and then put his hands around her neck "and twisted her neck sharply in an attempt to snap her neck".

The police officer said the couple's 16-year-old son heard his mother screaming for help and came into her bedroom.

He pulled his father off his mother but the defendant went into the kitchen and got a second knife, which his son managed to get off him following a struggle.

Applying for bail, defence counsel said the defendant had a completely clear record and that by accepting what his wife had told the police, he had admitted the offences.

He said members of the defendant's family, who were in court, were deeply concerned for his mental wellbeing.

Bail was refused and the defendant was remanded in custody until 5 December.

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