Belfast Telegraph

Man stabbed five times after sectarian insults allegedly hurled outside Antrim house party, court hears

By Alan Erwin

A man was stabbed five times after sectarian insults were allegedly hurled outside a house party in Antrim, the High Court heard on Thursday.

Wounds to his chest, face, arm and body were inflicted last month by a knife likened to a meat cleaver, prosecutors said.

Paul Catherwood, 27, is charged with attempting to murder him when violence flared at neighbouring properties on Rathmore Gardens in the town.

Catherwood, of Mourne View Park in Lisburn, is also accused of slashing at two women during the incident in the early hours of May 27.

He claims to have acted in self-defence after being attacked with a hammer at the scene.

Despite being granted bail earlier this month, Catherwood was returned to custody for two alleged breaches of an alcohol ban.

During a renewed application for bail the court was told the stabbing happened after a drink-fuelled fight broke out over a window being knocked at his sister's house.

Crown counsel said Catherwood was allegedly seen jumping over a garden fence with a knife resembling a meat cleaver.

She contended that there was also "a flavour of sectarianism" about the incident.

During interviews Catherwood claimed he was subjected to verbal abuse, being called an "Orange b******" and "loyalist scumbag", the court heard.

The accused also faces further counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault and possession of an offensive weapon.

Defence barrister Mark Farrell argued that his client claims he was first attacked by the complainant brandishing a hammer.

"Two neighbours were having parties in adjacent houses, a fight broke out and the defendant armed himself with a knife," the lawyer said.

Catherwood, who had been banned from entering Antrim as part of previous bail conditions, was said to have taken alcohol twice since his release.

Mr Farrell claimed he was suffering from loneliness and feeling "cocooned" from his friends and family.

Referring to the second occasion, the barrister added: "His girlfriend visited him and brought four beers with her. He didn't want her drinking alone."

Adjourning the fresh bail application, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan requested reports to check for any history of alcohol issues.

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