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Man accused of horrific gang torture attack on lover

Intruders burned a woman with heated hair tongs and scalded her body with boiling kettles of water, the High Court has heard.

A man with whom she was having an affair is accused of being among a gang of three who carried out the alleged attack in north Belfast, prosecutors said.

Patrick Muckian (32), of Lisburn Square, Lisburn, denies grievous bodily harm with intent, attempted burglary, being armed with an offensive weapon, and false imprisonment last Tuesday.

The self-employed joiner was granted bail but banned from going near the Atlantic Avenue area of Belfast.

He was also ordered to have no contact with the injured woman, curfewed and banned from drinking alcohol.

Opposing his application, Crown Counsel Philip Henry said it was claimed Muckian and two other men forced their way into the flat just after 6am. The accused is alleged to have held a kitchen knife to the throat of the woman who he had been seeing for up to five months.

Muckian then broke her nose and tried to suffocate her, according to the prosecution.

It was alleged that he took her hair-straightening tongs, heated them and held them to her nose.

“The applicant then assisted while the injured party was held and the hot hair-straighteners were held to her wrist, causing further burn marks,” Mr Henry said.

“Thereafter the kettle in the house was boiled and poured over the injured party, causing scalding to her body. I understand the kettle was boiled more than once, and she will require skin grafts as a result of the burns.”

Declan Quinn, defending, said his client insisted he only went to the flat hours after the injuries were allegedly inflicted.

A row was said to have developed over text messages she sent him, with Muckian worried his long-term partner would find out.

The accused did not assault the woman, but later received a phone call from her mother questioning the way he was treating her, the court heard.

He claimed she was stealing from her grandmother, and had put down a £9,000 deposit on a £48,000 watch bought for him from an up-market Belfast jewellers, according to the defence.

Muckian was said to have turned down the gift because he feared getting into trouble with her family. Another £15,000 was allegedly lodged in two banks, while a card account was set up at another retail store.

“It was the revelation to her mother which apparently led to her being the victim of a kangaroo court conducted by her family and he (Muckian) is the fall guy.”

Mr Quinn also argued: “There are a vast number of lines of inquiry pointing away from the accused's guilt which police seem to have done nothing about.”

He pointed to a delay in seeking medical treatment and contacting the PSNI, and asked why the woman went to Antrim Area Hospital rather than the much closer Mater Hospital.

Granting bail, Mr Justice Treacy said: “It is obvious from what I have heard there are many further lines of inquiry which will require to be investigated.”

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