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Man accused of attacking disabled neighbour (60) with victim's crutch

A 42-year-old man has appeared in court charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent against a 60-year-old disabled man in a block of flats in the Waterside area of Londonderry in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The defendant, Mark Ernest Howie from Sperrin Park, is alleged to have attacked his neighbour with the victim's crutch.

A police officer told District Judge Barney McElholm that it's believed the defendant used his victim's crutch to inflict the injuries on him after they'd consumed alcohol together in the victim's flat. She said the  victim was struck multiple times on the head and on his body with such force that he sustained four fractures to his left arm, swollen eyes and swollen ankles and puncture wounds to his thighs.

The officer said the police were alerted to the incident by a friend of the victim who regularly called to visit him. She said when paramedics and police officers arrived at the flat they found the victim gasping for breath and sprawled on his sofa with his clothes saturated in dried blood.

The victim was asked several times who had attacked him and each time he pointed to the ceiling about which was the defendant's flat. The victim was rushed to Altnagelvin Hospital where the police officer said he was in a serious but stable condition.

The officer said when the defendant was arrested he was transported to the custody suite at Coleraine P.S.N.I. station. She said on his way there he made what she called two significant statements to the police officers.

"In one statement he told the officers that his blood stained clothes were in the washing machine in his flat and he also said that he should have rung for an ambulance earlier", the officer said.

The police witness then showed the District Judge an album of photographs of the injuries sustained by the victim and she apologised to Mr. McElholm for the graphic nature of the injuries.

When questioned by the police the defendant said he believed he had been struck by the victim during an argument about a mobile 'phone charger.

"He said he does not remember anything after that until he woke up covered in blood", she said.

There was no bail application and the defendant was remanded in custody until April 27.

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