Northern Ireland

Knife suspect 'wore Halloween mask'

A burglar wearing a Halloween mask attacked a man with a hammer and knife, the High Court in Belfast has heard.

The man suffered a fractured eye-socket after the attack at Laurelbank in Poleglass early on Sunday.

Gerard Patrick Dugan, 23, of Upper Dunmurry Lane, Belfast, was charged with attempted murder, burglary and attempted burglary with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.

A judge said he posed a serious risk to the public and refused him bail.

A prosecution lawyer told the court police in the area had been flagged down by a woman claiming a man was being stabbed to death.

Officers forced their way into a neighbouring house, where the accused's girlfriend lives.

Agitated

They found him in an agitated state and shouting he was going to kill any officers there, the court heard.

She said he lunged at police before being put into handcuffs and leg restraints.

Police arriving at the assault victim's home found a young boy screaming and crying: "He's got a knife and he's killed my daddy."

The injured man was found slumped against the front door covered in blood. He had suffered a fractured eye-socket, multiple bruising and a scratched eye.

A defence barrister acknowledged: "This is an appalling incident for any family to experience."

He said Mr Dugan had been celebrating his girlfriend's birthday by drinking wine and consuming vodka jelly.

"It's a recipe for disaster. By this stage of the morning he appears to have been completely intoxicated," he said.

"Whether it was noise emanating from the next door neighbours or whether it is something that happened in the past, he clearly went off the Richter scale."

He said his client was still suffering from grief and depression following the death of his father, and had an alcohol problem.

Mr Dugan was also accused of aggravated assault on a woman, possession of an offensive weapon, and assault on police.

Bail was refused.