Northern Ireland

Mount Vernon attack: Woman denies son's attempted murder

Belfast court complex
Image caption The woman is due to appear at Belfast Magistrates' Court on Thursday

A woman charged with the attempted murder of her son allegedly watched him being beaten unconscious without trying to intervene, a court has heard.

Police also claimed Julie Larsen cleaned up after Matthew Larsen was attacked with a metal bar at a flat in the Mount Vernon area of north Belfast.

The 24-year-old victim was struck up to 20 times after an initial blow to the head, a judge was told.

He is currently in intensive care at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Julie Larsen, 41, of Ross House in Mount Vernon, faces charges of attempted murder and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

She is further accused of causing grievous bodily harm to another woman at the scene.

As she appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court an investigating detective said the charges were brought on the basis of a joint enterprise.

A man suspected of actually carrying out the attack on her son is still at large.

"We believe Mrs Larsen had arrived at the flat knowing that the other suspect was going to seriously assault her son," the officer claimed.

"Then, after the assault, she proceeded to clean up the flat and make it look as if the assault had occurred somewhere else."

She allegedly tried to mislead police by saying she found her son in the state he was in, and that he had been under threat from locals.

The man still being sought by police is believed to have threatened others at the scene, the court heard.

According to the detective Mrs Larsen witnessed the "sustained attack" on her son, but made no attempt to stop it.

During cross-examination the officer confirmed Larsen had denied the offences during interviews.

She is not accused of taking part in the physical assault on her son, the court heard.

Based on witness accounts, the detective said: "The victim was struck on the head with a drop bar once, causing his ear to explode.

"He was then struck approximately 20 more times."

When Mr Larsen's partner tried to stop the attack she was also hit, breaking her arm in three places, it was alleged.

A defence lawyer challenged police claims that Julie Larsen saw the attack take place or tried to mislead the investigation.

It was stressed that she had been the one to administer first aid and then went to the hospital.

Seeking bail, the solicitor added: "It's obviously desperately tragic circumstances in relation to this man's injuries.

"Her main concern is her son and his critical condition."

However, a judge refused to release Mrs Larsen based on the risk of interference with witnesses.

She was remanded in custody to appear again by video-link in a week's time.

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