Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Man charged with attempted murder as Belfast attack victim fights for his life in hospital

Forensic officers at the scene of the attack on the Antrim Road
Forensic officers at the scene of the attack on the Antrim Road

A man is in a critical condition in hospital after "a savage attack" just yards from a PSNI station left him fighting for his life.

He was one of four men assaulted by two others on the Antrim Road in north Belfast early on Sunday morning.

It happened close to a flat at the corner of Willowbank Gardens at around 4.50am.

One of the men, aged 24, was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital for treatment to his serious injuries.

A spokeswoman told the Belfast Telegraph the victim remained in a critical condition on Monday night.

Police have charged two men over the attack.

A 23-year-old has been charged with attempted murder, common assault, possession of a class B controlled drug, possessing a class B controlled drug with intent to supply and cultivating cannabis.

A 31-year-old man has been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, possession of a class B controlled drug, possessing a class B controlled drug with intent to supply and cultivating cannabis.

Both are expected to appear before Belfast Magistrates Court on Tuesday morning.

The Antrim Road was closed completely between its junctions with Willowbank Gardens and Hopefield Avenue for several hours on Sunday as officers gathered evidence.

A forensic tent could be seen placed over an item of interest on the road. The police investigation appeared to also focus on a flat in Willowbank Gardens which was cordoned off.

Neighbours spoke of their shock over the attack, but all said they were not aware of the background to it.

One woman said: "It's a horrific thing to happen to anyone."

Last night SDLP councillor Patrick Convery condemned the vicious assault.

Following a meeting with local police commanders, Mr Convery said: "This kind of savage attack is completely unacceptable.

"My thoughts and prayers are with one of the victims who has been rushed to hospital and is in a critical condition.

"No family should wake up to a knock on the door by police telling them that their son is lying in a critical condition in hospital after being brutally beaten."

Mr Convery urged anyone with information about the brutal beating to contact the police at Antrim Road police station, which is close to where the attack happened.

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Little also appealed for help.

"Anyone with any information about this incident is asked to contact us in CID in Antrim Road Police Station on 0845 600 8000," DCI Little said.

"If you would prefer to provide information without giving details, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111."

QUOTES

"Those who are behind this callous attack are beneath contempt and will be rejected by this community. I would urge anyone who may have heard or seen anything suspicious to contact the PSNI at Antrim Road police station and help to bring these thugs to justice."

SDLP councillor Patrick Convery

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