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Man accused of trying to strangle girlfriend ordered to stay in Northern Ireland

Published 04/11/2016

Man accused of carrying out the attack in a tent at Waterfoot on August 4
Man accused of carrying out the attack in a tent at Waterfoot on August 4

A man accused of trying to strangle his girlfriend with a belt during a camping holiday in the Glens of Antrim must not leave Northern Ireland, a High Court judge ordered on Friday.

The ban was imposed on 33-year-old Mario Felloni as he was granted bail at the High Court in Belfast.

Prosecutors sought the prohibition amid concerns he may try to pursue the alleged victim - a woman from County Cork.

Felloni, of Cliftonpark Court in Belfast, faces charges of attempted murder, false imprisonment and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He is accused of carrying out the attack in a tent at Waterfoot on August 4.

Police arrested him after being alerted to a distressed female with red marks on her neck and heavily bloodshot eyes.

She had approached another woman, claiming to have escaped and walked nine miles in the middle of the night following an attempt to choke her.

Prosecutors said a doctor who examined her at Antrim Area Hospital concluded she had been "significantly strangled" in what was considered an attempt to murder her.

The woman told police Felloni turned violent after she raised concerns about his drinking on their camping holiday.

At a previous hearing it was alleged that he snapped, pinned her to the ground inside the tent, put his hand around her neck and squeezed.

According to the woman's account she tried to pull his fingers away and urged him to calm down.

Felloni then took his cloth belt off, put it around her neck and pulled tightly, it was claimed.

In a statement the alleged victim described being unable to speak and seeing stars, fearing she was going to die as everything started to close.

She claimed Felloni released his grip as she began to pass out.

A judge was told he then allegedly asked 'Do you want a fast way or a slow way?'

He pushed her neck around as if to break it, telling her that was the fast way, the prosecution claimed.

The woman said she managed to escape after Felloni fell asleep later that night.

During police interviews he denied using a belt or any attempt to choke the woman, but said he punched her up to six times after she slapped his face in an argument.

However, it also emerged in court that the alleged victim has made two further statements withdrawing her complaints against Felloni.

She denied being afraid of him and said her original allegations were made after drinking two bottles of wine and beer.

The woman has since returned to Cork and does not want to be part of any prosecution.

Based on her current refusal to provide assistance in the case, Crown lawyer Conor Maguire did not oppose bail being granted under tight conditions.

He explained: "They are to allay concerns that he would leave the jurisdiction and seek to pursue the alleged injured party."

Mrs Justice Keegan ruled that Felloni could be released from custody to live at a hostel in Belfast.

She imposed an alcohol ban, night-time curfew and ordered him to report to police every day.

The judge also directed: "He will be precluded from leaving the jurisdiction of Northern Ireland unless he's given permission by police."

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