Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Feuding Polish gangs caused Dungannon house fire, court hears

A Belfast High Court judge refused bail to two Polish men accused of setting fire to a Co Tyrone house
A Belfast High Court judge refused bail to two Polish men accused of setting fire to a Co Tyrone house

Twelve men attacked and set fire to a house in Co Tyrone as part of an escalating suspected drugs feud between rival Polish factions, the High Court heard today.

Raiders allegedly armed with baseball bats and knives crossed the border in a convoy of cars before breaking into the Dungannon property as five of their compatriots hid upstairs.

One of them was injured as he tried to get up to the occupants in reprisal for a previous incident, prosecutors said.

Details emerged as bail was refused to two of the men accused of targeting the house at Springdale on September 27.

Fabian Wojcik, 33, of Annagh Court, and Dominik Maniszewski, 26, from Crowspark Court - both in Dublin - are each charged with arson with intent to endanger life and aggravated burglary with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm.

They were among eleven men detained when police stopped three BMWs following the attack.

Police had earlier put out a fire at the property following a 999 call from the occupants.

A prosecution barrister said a gang of Polish men armed with weapons had broken through a back door and tried to get upstairs.

A twelfth suspect was hit on the head as he attempted the ascent and later taken to hospital.

The intruders then ransacked the house and lit a fire in the hallway, throwing clothes and a television set on the blaze before leaving, the court heard.

Inquiries revealed the cars had travelled from the Irish Republic into Dungannon to mount the attack.

Opposing bail, the prosecution claimed it was linked to a feud between the two factions.

Other alleged incidents include an assault, intimidation and a complaint made by the girlfriend of another of the defendants.

"Police believe the matter is escalating and may be drug-related," the prosecutor added.

Counsel for Maniszewski said he denies the charges and predicted major identification issues over what he claimed were "tentative" links in the case.

Both men, who have each lived in Ireland for a number of years, were able to offer £5,000 cash sureties in a bid to be released.

But refusing bail, Mr Justice Burgess cited the risk of further offences.

The judge added: "The allegations are serious; not least the setting of a fire in the hall of the house when there are people upstairs.

"The consequences of that could potentially have been very serious indeed." ends

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