Northern Ireland

Newtownabbey assault: Man charged with attempted murder

The woman was attacked at her house in Glengormley
Image caption The woman was attacked at her house in Glengormley

A 33-year-old man, who sparked a nationwide man hunt, has been charged with attempted murder.

Stephen David John McFarlane, from Glenville Park in Newtownabbey, appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court on Saturday.

He was charged with attempting to kill a 26-year-old woman.

He was also accused of breaking into her home on the Ashgrove Road in Newtownabbey.

The court was told that Mr McFarlane launched "a frenzied knife attack" on the mother-of-two, allegedly inflicting a total of 27 stab wounds.

The woman remains in hospital, where her condition is described as stable.

Defence solicitor Matthew Higgins said he was not applying for bail and District Judge Bernie Kelly remanded McFarlane into custody to appear again on 19 February via video-link.

The alleged attack sparked a nationwide manhunt as police searched for Mr McFarlane.

The PSNI released his name and his car details as they sought to track him down.

Mr McFarlane is also charged with breaching a court imposed non-molestation order on 13 January.

He is further charged that on the following day he stole two sets of number plates, made off without paying for £40.01 of fuel and that on 15 January, he drove dangerously on the Doagh Road in Newtownabbey and failed to stop, remain or report an accident where damage was caused.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Police had released a photo of a white Audi in a bid to trace McFarlane

The hunt ended in a high speed pursuit, which stretched from the Doagh Road in Newtownabbey and culminated in Welland Street, a cul-de-sac close to the junction of the Newtownards and Holywood roads in east Belfast, where he was arrested.

Image copyright Member of the public
Image caption The hunt ended on a cul-de-sac close to the junction of the Newtownards and Holywood roads

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