Belfast Telegraph

'Murder bid recorded on 999 call'

Court told phone operator heard man's attempt to kill his partner

By Paul Higgins

A man has been remanded into custody accused of trying to kill his partner by suffocating her with a plastic bag, a quilt and duct tape.

Newry Magistrates Court heard allegations that at one stage during the attack in the early hours of Sunday morning, 44-year-old Patrick Doherty used both knees to pin his partner's hands while sitting astride her holding a knife to her throat and calling on his friend to "get the bin bags".

Appearing in the dock, Doherty, from the Newry Road, Belleek, was charged with the attempted murder of Rosemary Travers on July 26 this year, threatening to kill her, trying to inflict grievous bodily harm, causing actual bodily harm, assaulting her and possessing a knife with intent to kill.

A detective constable told the court she believed she could connect Doherty to each of the charges and during an opposed bail application, outlined how police were first called to a fight at Chancellors Road in the city when a member of the public reported two men attacking a woman, grabbing her by the hair and punching her to the ground.

By the time police got to that incident the victim had already left in a taxi, but officers spoke to Doherty and his friend before letting them leave.

The detective added, however, that at the home of Doherty's 80-year-old mother at Newry Road in Belleek, Ms Travers was subjected to a terrifying ordeal, some of which was recorded on a 999 call two hours after the initial incident.

Ms Travers has made a statement, the court heard, alleging that Doherty called her a "tout and a tramp" before punching her and kicking her in the head, declaring: "You're not such a big woman now."

His mother intervened and dragged him off, the court heard, allowing the alleged victim to flee to the bathroom where she locked the door. It was claimed Doherty then forced his way in and continued the assault, putting a plastic bag over her face, and replacing that with a quilt when she managed to pull it off. He then put duct tape over her mouth but his mother pulled him away again.

Having "crept" into the living room, Ms Travers dialled 999 and left the phone off the hook but it was at that stage that Doherty allegedly came into the room armed with a knife.

The court was told he pinned her to the ground with his knees, threatened to bite her nose off and "hack her to pieces," and tried to stab her hands.

The detective said police were objecting to bail on the grounds that Doherty would interfere with the witness and could reoffend. The bail application was refused.

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