Larne mob kill bid accused duo are footsoldiers of UDA, court told
Published 21/06/2014 | 02:30
Two men alleged to have been part of a 100-strong masked mob armed with machetes and knives in Larne were described by a police officer in court as "footsoldiers of the UDA".
The men – both from Greenisland near Carrickfergus – were remanded in custody at Coleraine Magistrates Court charged with attempted murder in connection with serious disorder in the town at the end of March.
They are unemployed 28-year-old Steven Adam Blackwood of Moyard Gardens, and 34-year-old builder Stephen Craig Mettleton of Rossmore Green. They are also charged with rioting, intimidation and criminal damage.
In Larne in March houses were attacked in Ferris Avenue and Knockdhu Park. Twenty-nine people have been arrested by police so far.
A solicitor representing both men said they each strenuously denied membership of the UDA and said they were not charged with membership of the illegal organisation.
District Judge Liam McNally refused bail applications and the two men were remanded in custody to appear at Ballymena Magistrates Court on July 17.
A police officer told the court he believed he could connect the accused men to the charges.
The officer said there was a serious incident in Larne on Mother's Day involving 100 masked men attributed to the south east Antrim UDA.
He said two properties were attacked in Ferris Avenue and one in Knockdhu Park, a mile away.
The police officer said 29 people had been arrested and the PSNI had amassed 1,000 pieces of evidence in the case.
He said one person had already been charged in relation to Ferris Avenue, but the two men before the court were the first two people charged over the Knockdhu Park attack.
Around 9pm, he said, 70 masked men armed with "golf clubs, hammers, machetes, knives... different things" descended on a house where inside there was a man, his son, two daughters and a family friend.
The mob, according to the police officer, "battered" their way into the house and "beat, to within an inch of his life", a man in the house, who suffered a stab wound and broken bones in the "horrific" attack and was hospitalised.
The officer claimed DNA on a balaclava was a match to Blackwood and DNA on gloves was a match to Mettleton.
Bail was refused because of a likelihood of further offending.