Belfast Telegraph

Police 'found man with axe in back after disturbance'

By Paul Higgins

Police found a man with an axe still buried around five inches in his back after they were called out to a disturbance, a court has heard.

Officers found 45-year-old Christopher Daniel 'Gus' Lynch in the rear passenger seat of his partner's car with an ornamental axe "embedded" in his back.

Yesterday Mr Lynch's brother and nephew were jointly charged with attempting to murder him.

Appearing in the dock of Downpatrick Magistrates Court, Martin Lynch (42) and his son Sean-Paul Lynch (18), both with an address at Carraig View, Raholp, in Downpatrick, were also jointly charged with possessing a baseball bat.

Martin Lynch faces a further allegation of causing actual bodily harm to his brother on July 1, while his son is charged with causing criminal damage to a car belonging to Gus Lynch's partner, Elizabeth Clodagh Cunningham, on the same date.

During an unsuccessful bail application, a detective constable told the court the case arose from what appeared to be a family fight.

Police were first called to a house just before midnight on Tuesday by Martin Lynch's partner Caroline Fitzsimmons. She reported that a glass had been smashed and Gus Lynch had received a head injury when Sean-Paul hit him with a beer can.

The father and son, allegedly armed with baseball bats, chased their victim from the scene and the couple left after Sean-Paul allegedly smashed a car window with a bat and Martin hit his brother on the head with his bat.

By the time officers arrived at the scene "all appeared to be calm", said the detective. However, there was a second incident just over an hour later when Gus Lynch returned to the property and there was a "confrontation in the front garden".

According to a statement by Ms Cunningham, who was sitting in her car 50 yards away, the brothers were grappling when Sean-Paul appeared to swipe at Gus. When he returned to her car, she noticed an injury to his back.

Martin's partner Ms Fitzsimmons had again called police and the detective said when officers arrived at the scene Gus was "face down in the rear passenger seat and they could see there was an axe embedded in his lower back".

Shown the photographs of the injury, District Judge Greg McCourt said it looked as though the weapon was embedded around five inches deep into his back. The detective told the court that Gus remains in the Ulster Hospital but that his injuries are not life-threatening.

Revealing that the father and son were on bail for serious assault at the time of the incident and have relevant criminal convictions, the detective said police were objecting to bail.

Under cross-examination from solicitor Darren Duncan, the officer agreed that Martin Lynch, who was sporting a heavy black eye, received an injury himself and that a hammer was recovered from the footwell of Ms Cunningham's car.

Judge McCourt said both men "have records for violence", and ordered them to appear again via video-link on 31 July.

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