Men accused of north Belfast attempted murder had 'also used pizza cutter to hijack taxi', court hears
Two men accused of attempted murder during violence in north Belfast had also allegedly tried to hijack a taxi using a pizza cutter, a court has heard.
William John Paul, 32, and Derek Armstrong, 26, are charged in connection with suspected attacks that culminated in a number of men being taken to hospital with serious injuries.
Paul, of Harmin Drive in Newtownabbey, is accused of wielding a samurai sword, glass bottle and another sword amid the alleged clashes at Woodvale Drive on Sunday morning.
He faces two counts each of attempted murder, attempted wounding and threats to kill.
Paul is further charged with four counts of possessing an offensive weapon in public, inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, attempted hijacking, two common assaults, criminal damage and two counts of theft.
Entering the dock at Belfast Magistrates' Court with what appeared to be bandaging around his arms, he spoke only to confirm he understood the alleged offences.
He was remanded in custody until Friday, when an application for bail is expected to be mounted.
Armstrong, of Cosgrave Court in the city, appeared later on seven charges, including: attempted murder, attempted hijacking, possessing an offensive weapon in the form of the pizza slicer, common assault, criminal damage, the theft of a wallet and stealing £200 in a burglary at Glencairn Way.
His face heavily bruised and cut, he nodded to indicate his awareness of the accusations against him.
No details of the alleged attempts to kill were disclosed during the hearing.
But a detective who opposed Armstrong's bid for bail claimed the defendant has known most of the witnesses and injured parties for most of his life.
He told the court that a taxi driver was targeted after picking two men up from an address on the Limestone Road on Sunday.
A struggle broke out when his passengers produced the pizza cutter, threatened him and told him to hand over the car when it arrived in the Woodvale area, it was claimed.
Both men then fled from the scene, according to police.
A prosecution lawyer alleged that phone records link the two accused to the incident.
She revealed that a text Armstrong is suspected of sending read: "We are ditching this taxi. Want to rob him with a pizza slicer?"
After his co-accused had allegedly indicated his consent, it was claimed that he continued: "No sweat. Woodvale Park, you throw knife at his throat, we take his motor."
Armstrong's solicitor, Matt Higgins, argued that the case involved three separate incidents.
He stressed the severity of his client's injuries, including seven staples in his head, a badly swollen eye and cuts and bruising all over the body.
"He has made a counter allegation that he was the victim of an assault," Mr Higgins told the court.
"He wants to make a formal complaint to seek prosecution of the alleged injured parties."
However, refusing bail, District Judge Fiona Bagnall cited the risks of interference with witnesses and re-offending.
She remanded Armstrong in custody to appear again by video-link on February 16.