Friday, May 24, 2024

Man repeatedly kicked to the head at train station ‘suffered life-changing injuries’, court told

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While the victim cannot talk, a police officer testified that “he can write” and he named Alan Stewart as one of his alleged assailants.

The courts also heard that having suffered a broken jaw and multiple other facial fractures, the victim remains in hospital with his jaws wired shut having sustained “life-changing injuries.”

While the victim cannot talk, a police officer testified that “he can write” and he named Alan Stewart as one of his alleged assailants.

On Wednesday Stewart, from John Street in Ballymoney, appeared at Limavady Magistrates Court, sitting in Coleraine, where the 30-year-old was charged with a single offence of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent on April 22.

The following day at Ballymena Magistrates Court, his co-accused Ryan Hannah (35), from Mill Street, Coleraine, stood in the dock facing the same charge.

Both men applied for bail during their respective appearances and the courts heard how police believe that as “some form of retaliation,” Stewart and the victim had been exchanging messages and agreed to meet for a fight.

According to witnesses and CCTV footage, Stewart and Hannah began to assault the victim on the footbridge at Ballymoney train station. When he was knocked to the ground, they allegedly repeatedly kicked him to the head.

All three had left the scene when police arrived. But later in the day, the “barely conscious” victim attended A&E with his mother before being transferred to Altnagelvin Hospital where surgeons treated him for fractures to his jaw and cheek, wiring his jaws together.

In addition he sustained five broken ribs and he has “lost all of his teeth bar one,” a detective said.

The detective said that as well as a witness statement and CCTV footage from the train station police are also in possession of a video, shared by the defendant on his Snapchat account, which allegedly showed part of the assault.

Officers attended at Stewart’s home and when they arrived, officers noted there was a wash in the machine and when those clothes were emptied and examined, they appeared to match clothing from the video and other CCTV.

There also appeared to be blood on the shoes taken from the machine, the officer told the court.

When arrested and interviewed, Stewart denied involvement and then refused to answer questions.

The officer said police were objecting to bail due to concerns of interference with the victim, witnesses and the investigation as well as fears of further offences.

When Hannah was arrested and interviewed, he told officers that Stewart had asked him to go with him and when they arrived at the station, he claimed the injured party ran towards Stewart and a struggle ensued.

Hannah maintained that he delivered “five blows” with an “open hand” and denied assaulting the injured party while he was on the ground.

But the detective told the court the footage circulating on social media showed that “both parties” had assaulted the complainant while he was on the ground and showed “both males” as having played an “equal part”.

The officer raised similar objections to those against Stewart but while Stewart was refused bail and remanded into custody, Hannah was released on his own bail of £500 with conditions that he must reside at home and not enter Ballymoney.

Hannah is also barred from contacting Stewart or the victim, he must observe a curfew and be electronically tagged.

Both men are due to appear again on May 13.

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