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Belfast man 'threw petrol over girl's face in arson attack on family home', court told

Published 21/07/2015

Marc McGrandles is charged with arson endangering the life of his sister and three other girls
Marc McGrandles is charged with arson endangering the life of his sister and three other girls

A Belfast man allegedly launched an arson attack on his family home while a younger sister and three teenage friends were inside, a court heard today.

Marc McGrandles threw petrol over one girl's face while a lit cigarette was in his mouth, police claimed.

A detective said the incident at the house on Old Park Road in the early hours of Monday morning was unprovoked.

McGrandles, 21, is charged with arson endangering the life of his sister and the other teenagers.

He also faces counts of assaulting two of the four girls at the scene.

Appearing before Belfast Magistrates' Court, the defendant nodded to confirm he understood the alleged offences.

Police opposed bail due to fears for the safety of the girls and McGrandles himself.

A detective disclosed concerns that the accused may be at risk of suicide.

She told District Judge Fiona Bagnall: "It would appear to be an unprovoked attack against his sister and the other teenagers that were in the house.

"He splashed petrol in the face of one of the victims with a lit cigarette in his mouth when he did it."

According to police McGrandles now has no fixed abode following the alleged arson at his home.

Defence counsel Luke Curran said his client had been drinking and stopped taking medication he was on for depression.

"When sober he not only answered questions asked, but did so calmly," the barrister added.

Although Judge Bagnall indicated bail would be considered, she stressed that it must be to live well away from the area.

"It's a very serious incident... there's obviously been some family difficulty that has arisen to spark this off," she said.

Adjourning the case to allow efforts to locate suitable accommodation, she added: "Until I have an address that's very secure and some supervision within it I'm concerned about that."

McGrandles was remanded in custody to appear back in court on Thursday.

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