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Newtownabbey man denies attempted murder charge of mother of his two young children, court hears

By Ashleigh McDonald

A 34-year old man is to stand trial on a charge of attempting to murder the mother of his two young children, a court heard on Monday.

Stephen David John McFarlane appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Monday where he admitted attacking the Newtownabbey woman and causing her grievous bodily harm with intent last January - but denied trying to kill her.

From Glenville Park in Newtownabbey, McFarlane was verbally abusive to the woman's father who sat in the public gallery during today's brief court appearance.

The Co Antrim man was charged with a total of seven offences arising from a knife attack on a young woman in her Glengormley home on January 13, 2016.

Whilst he denied a charge of attempted murder, McFarlane entered 'guilty' pleas to a further six charges arising from the knife attack.

The accused admitted unlawfully and maliciously causing the 27-year-old woman grievous bodily harm with intent to do her grievous bodily harm, and of damaging a door belonging to her. He also admitted making off without paying for £40 worth of petrol on January 14 and stealing two sets of vehicle licence plates.

In addition, he admitted a charge of driving dangerously on roads between and including Jordanstown Road and Welland Street in Belfast.

The driving charge is understood to relate to a high-speed police chase on January 15 which ended when a white Audi was cornered in a cul-de-sac in east Belfast following a man-hunt for McFarlane in the wake of the stabbing.

After McFarlane entered pleas to all seven charges, a prosecuting barrister told Judge Geoffrey Miller QC that the Crown "intended to proceed" with the attempted murder charge. The prosecutor also revealed that McFarlane's pleas to some of the charges "narrows the field of witnesses" required for the trial.

The prosecutor asked that the case be mentioned in a week's time, to allow him to liaise with McFarlane's legal team.

As he was being led in handcuffs from the dock and back into custody, McFarlane turned to face the public gallery, and was verbally abusive to his victim's father.

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