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Man accused of spraying deodorant on partner before attempting to set her alight, court hears

By Alan Erwin

Published 23/10/2015

Days Hotel, Belfast is owned and operated by Andras Hotels
Days Hotel, Belfast is owned and operated by Andras Hotels

A man allegedly tried to set his partner on fire in a Belfast hotel room, the High Court heard today.

Martin Stokes is accused of spraying the woman with deodorant and then attempting to set her alight.

Prosecutors also claimed the 25-year-old attacked her armed with a screwdriver during a separate incident at her home in Londonderry.

Stokes, of Collon Lane in the city, was granted bail but banned from any contact with the alleged victim.

He faces charges of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent, common assault, false imprisonment, criminal damage and possession of an offensive weapon in public.

Police were called to the scene of the alleged stabbing attempt at Old City Court on May 30.

The woman claimed he had ran at her with a screwdriver and held her by the throat, the court was told.

Although no stitches were required, a Crown lawyer contended that a mark in the chest area seen on photographs was where the tool came into contact with her skin.

Stokes was arrested after police found him hiding under a bed at his home the next day, she added.

In a statement to police his partner also accused him of another attack two months previously.

"She described an incident on March 18 where it's alleged the applicant attempted to set her on fire by spraying her in deodorant and trying to light it," the prosecutor said.

"This was alleged to have occurred at the Days Hotel in Belfast."

Stokes had been out on bail before being returned to custody earlier this month over a message posted on Facebook.

Defence barrister Sean Doherty described charges against him as "entirely inflated".

"No wound was ever sustained by this complainant," he said.

Mr Doherty contended there would be visible injuries to the woman if his client had really attacked her with a screwdriver.

He added that Stokes, a settled member of the Traveller community, has been a source of family support since the sudden death of his brother.

Granting bail, Mr Justice Maguire based his decision on being told the alleged victim no longer lives in Derry.

He ordered the accused to provide a £1,000 cash surety and imposed curfew and electronic monitoring conditions. ends

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