Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Accused denies stabbing nurse in head at party

A Tyrone man accused of stabbing a young Omagh woman in the head a year ago has finally appeared in court charged with her attempted murder.

The case of Stephen McCrea (31), of Riverview Park, Omagh, was one of over 40 listed before Dungannon Court yesterday as solicitors lifted their ban on dealing with legal aid cases as a result of their dispute with Justice Minister David Ford.

Prosecution lawyer Simon Reid asked that the single charge of attempting to murder nurse Tracey Monteith on August 8 last year be put to McCrea, to which he pleaded "not guilty".

Judge David McFarland told defence lawyer Ian Turkington that in the circumstances he would grant a legal aid certificate for two counsel. However, he would not fix a date for any possible trial at this stage.

McCrea was remanded back into custody, with his case listed again next month before Omagh Crown Court, which would also allow his legal team more time to lodge their defence statement.

No details surrounding the knife attack were given to the court, although last year it was reported that Ms Monteith was left critically wounded after the stabbing at her Cappagh Villas home near Omagh in the early hours of the morning.

The young nurse, who had recently moved to the area, was stabbed once in the head with a knife after she had answered a knock to the door of her new home, where she was hosting a house warming party.

In addition to McCrea's case, the court was also able to formally deal with 42 other cases ranging from driving while disqualified to causing death by dangerous driving, and from a burglary to a massive fraud involving over £50,000.

Yesterday Judge McFarland was able to issue new legal aid certificates where they were required as he was told that many of the original solicitors had "come back on record" and in some instances had already instructed new legal counsel.

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