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Man shot with a crossbow during Co Down blackmail attempt, court told

Published 28/08/2015

Man allegedly demanded money as part of a weekly protection campaign (file pic)
Man allegedly demanded money as part of a weekly protection campaign (file pic)

A man was shot with a crossbow during an alleged blackmail raid on a home in Co Down, the High Court heard on Friday.

Prosecutors said a bolt was fired into the stomach of one of three suspected armed intruders amid a struggle at the scene.

Details emerged as bail was refused to the man accused of being the "main instigator" in the break-in at Millar Park, Lawrencetown on July 11.

Hugh Francis Boyce, 25, of Watsonville, Lurgan, faces charges of blackmail, aggravated burglary with intent to commit grievous bodily harm, possessing an offensive weapon, namely a bottle, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, assisting offenders and obstructing police.

A judge was told police went to the house after receiving two separate calls - one about the intruders trying to get in and the other to report the crossbow shooting.

Conor Maguire, prosecuting, disclosed that a man who lived there was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

It was claimed, however, that Boyce and two others had forced their way in while armed with weapons.

Boyce allegedly demanded money from him as part of a weekly protection campaign, according to the homeowner's account.

"He said there was a struggle during which one of the other males was shot with the crossbow by him," Mr Maguire told the court.

Boyce then allegedly head-butted him, seized the weapon for disposal and gave orders that no-one was to contact police.

Audio and video recordings on the homeowner's phone back his version of events, the prosecutor contended.

Opposing bail, he added: "It's the view of police that the applicant is the main instigator in respect of this attack."

Defence counsel challenged that assessment, questioning why the crossbow had not allegedly been pointed at his client if he was in charge.

"There will be issues surrounding the factual context of this case," he said.

Despite submissions, however, Mr Justice Deeny ruled Boyce must remain in custody.

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