Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Man 'kicked in ex-partner's front door and stamped on her' - court hears

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A man kicked in an ex-partner's front door and allegedly stamped on her after being informed of a new relationship, the High Court heard today.

Prosecutors said the woman was left with suspected footprint marks to the face and forehead after the attack at her home in Belfast.

Although police discovered Niall McErlean crawling back out through a hole in the door he managed to escape the scene, a judge was told.

The 22-year-old trained chef, of St James Mews, Belfast, eventually handed himself in last Monday.

He faces charges of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent, burglary and theft of a phone, and two counts of assault on police.

Granting bail on condition that he has no contact with the victim, Mr Justice Horner stressed: "He has no right or control over anything she does."

The court heard she made 999 calls as McErlean was allegedly trying to break into her home late on June 14.

According to her account the accused got inside and then forced his way into a bedroom where the attack began.

It was claimed that he knocked her to the floor before kicking and punching her about the head and body.

She fled downstairs to the kitchen where the assault allegedly continued.

Prosecution counsel Philip Henry said: "She attempted to run away from him but he kicked her on the left side, causing her to fall.

"She hit her head on a table on the way down... she lay there some time while he kicked and punched her.

"He is also alleged to have stamped on her."

McErlean struggled with police when they arrived before fleeing the scene, according to the prosecution.

The woman spent three days in hospital being treated for her injuries.

She suffered bruising, scrape marks, a black eye, a golf ball-sized swelling to her head and up to three suspected shoe print marks.

McErlean later told police he had been out drinking when comments were made to him about his ex-partner, the court heard.

He denies the scale of the alleged assault and suggested he may have been hit himself during the incident.

A defence barrister stressed no attempt was made to contact the woman again in the three-day period before McErlean handed himself in.

Mr Justice Horner was told the accused has worked in several restaurants since qualifying as a chef.

He is now seeking to establish a new career in photography.

As part of bail conditions McErlean must live at an address in Crumlin where he will be curfewed and electronically monitored.

Imposing an exclusion zone around the area where the woman lives, the judge added: "She certainly did not do anything at all to deserve what happened to her."

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