Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Three cleared of hook raid

Court is told of long running feud

THREE Belfast men accused of carrying out a violent slash hook attack during a long running feud have been acquitted of all charges at Antrim Crown Court.

THREE Belfast men accused of carrying out a violent slash hook attack during a long running feud have been acquitted of all charges at Antrim Crown Court.

Brothers William Joseph Mongan (19), of Glenbawn Square, Poleglass and John Joseph Edward Mongan (26), Woodside Walk, Poleglass along with Darren Donahue (19), from Glenveagh Park, Lenadoon, stood accused of a number of offences relating to two violent disturbances at Belfast Road travellers' halting site near Nutts Corner, Co Antrim last June.

The three men had been charged with two counts of aggravated burglary, causing criminal damage and making threats to kill a woman and a child from another traveller family.

At Antrim Crown Court yesterday a police detective constable said there was "bad blood" between the Mongan family and the victims of the attack the Maughan family and there had been a number of difficulties prior to the attacks in June.

The court was told that Mary Maughan and her young children had been in their caravan at the site on the evening of the attacks when a number of masked men approached in a car.

Her husband Martin Maughan had fled running into the field behind the caravan while a masked man forced his way into their home.

Two men outside began to smash up the caravan with baseball bats while the man inside the van caused extensive damage with the slash hook also known as a bill hook, which was four feet in length with a curved blade.

Mary Maughan alleged that the man she later identified as William Mongan had threatened to kill her shouting; "If you don't stop I'll kill you".

She had been left distressed by the attack and had to be treated in hospital.

There had subsequently been a second attack of a similar nature on July 2, 2002.

The court heard that feelings were running high between the two families and that Martin Maughan's brother Brian was currently serving a 16-year prison sentence for attempting to kill the Mongan brothers' father by shooting him.

However in court it was alleged that there were a number of discrepancies in the details of the attacks and the evidence given by witnesses was questioned.

A barrister for one of the defendants said some of those involved "could be lying for their own reasons."

Halting the trial and directing the jury to return a verdict of not guilty on all charges, Judge Lockie said there had been a number of inconstancies in information relating to the description of the events surrounding the attacks."

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