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Co Down man punched woman in stomach to kill unborn baby, court told

By Alan Erwin

Published 01/07/2016

A Co Down man allegedly punched a pregnant woman in the stomach in a bid to kill her unborn baby, the High Court heard today.
A Co Down man allegedly punched a pregnant woman in the stomach in a bid to kill her unborn baby, the High Court heard today.

A Co Down man allegedly punched a pregnant woman in the stomach in a bid to kill her unborn baby, the High Court has heard.

The child had to be delivered early and underwent hospital treatment for breathing difficulties and mental issues, prosecutors said.

A judge was told police have now prepared a report on a potential charge of attempted child destruction.

The 27-year-old man at the centre of their investigation is not being named for legal reasons.

Details emerged on Friday as he sought to vary bail terms on a separate charge of intimidating a witness to the alleged assault - understood to be the pregnant woman's partner.

It was claimed the accused phoned a brother of the man on February 18 in an attempt to get him to retract his statement.

Prosecution barrister Robin Steer alleged that the defendant threatened to assault the witness with a baseball bat.

He also confirmed a report has been sent to the Public Prosecution Service in relation to the suspected previous incident of attempted child destruction.

No decision has been made yet on whether to bring a formal charge.

Detailing the alleged circumstances, Mr Steer said the man is accused of punching the witness' partner in the stomach last September.

She was around six months pregnant at the time, the court heard.

"That child was born at 25 weeks and was in hospital for a number of weeks in relation to breathing problems and mental problems caused by the early birth," the prosecutor added.

A defence lawyer argued that the phone call which resulted in the intimidating a witness charge is not linked to the attempted child destruction case.

He contended that it was instead connected to separate alleged driving offences.

The accused was seeking permission to take up the offer of Housing Executive accommodation in Co Armagh.

His barrister argued that it would also ease his travel for ongoing mental health treatment.

Granting the bail variation, Mr Justice Maguire imposed a ban on the man contacting the child's mother or entering the area where she lives.

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