Belfast Telegraph

Shot was fired ‘at machete robbery’, court told

A policewoman opened fire in a struggle with a suspected machete-wielding robber in Portdown, the High Court has heard.

Officers were called to the scene after two men held down a woman and pulled three bracelets from her arm, prosecutors claimed. It was also disclosed that one of the accused is a brother of the alleged victim.

Details emerged as John McDonagh (51) was granted bail but banned from entering Portadown.

The painter and decorator, of no fixed address, faces charges of robbery, false imprisonment and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place. The alleged offences were committed in the Obin Street area of the town on November 25, the court heard.

A judge was told McDonagh and a co-accused were drinking heavily when they went to his sister's home. The other man produced a machete before she was pinned down and her jewellery taken, prosecutors said.

Crown lawyer Kate McKay said police arrived and were forced to use CS spray and a baton during a struggle with the co-accused.

The man was warned to drop his weapon or police would shoot, the court heard. Mrs McKay said a female officer fired her police gun when the man continued to brandish the weapon, although neither suspect was struck.

Michael Boyd, defending, said McDonagh had taken so much drink he had little memory of the incident. He argued that the case against his client was “very much a secondary role to the extremely serious actions” of his co-accused.

After hearing the claims the judge stated: “His friend attacks his sister with a machete. It doesn't get more unpleasant than that.”

He granted the accused bail to stay at an agreed address in Lurgan. McDonagh was also banned from drinking, or making contact with his sister, and given a night-time curfew.

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