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Man accused of attempting to murder police was 'foaming at the mouth', court hears

By Alan Erwin

Published 29/12/2015

McMullan was remanded into custody.
McMullan was remanded into custody.

A man accused of opening fire on police officers in a bid to kill them had been "foaming at the mouth", a court heard today.

Matthew McMullan's lawyer claimed he may have suffered a psychotic episode before the alleged incident in north Belfast on Christmas night.

The 46-year-old, of Heath Lodge Close in the city, is charged with the attempted murder of a policeman and policewoman.

He also faces counts of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, threatening to kill a relative, and criminal damage to a car.

The two constables allegedly came under attack after responding to a report of a man being assaulted in the Highfern Gardens area.

McMullan is accused of coming out of a house at Heath Lodge Close and shooting at their car as they investigated.

Neither officer was injured in the incident.

Appearing before Belfast Magistrates' Court today, McMullan confirmed he understood the charges against him.

A detective constable accepted the accused said he had recently been released from the Mater Hospital after being detained under the Mental Health Act.

The court also heard witness statements were taken from those at the scene.

Referring to the account given by McMullan's sister, a defence solicitor said she had asked him to leave a property that night.

"She indicated to police that he was foaming at the mouth and acting irrationally," the lawyer said.

Another relative described the accused as "acting like a mad man", the court was told.

His lawyer stressed that he denies all of the offences and has no recollection of what happened.

"I will be making the case of diminished responsibility," she said.

District Judge Ken Nixon was told McMullan will be seeking bail to return to hospital for further assessments.

Based on witness statements and discussions with a GP, the defence solicitor said it was believed "quite possible Mr McMullan has had a psychotic episode".

Following her submissions the accused was remanded in custody to appear again by video link in a week's time.

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