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Woman feared for life during knife ordeal: court told

By Nevin Farrell

A wedding guest thought she was “going to die” after a balaclava-clad knifeman confronted her before she was dramatically rescued by her dad, it has been claimed in court.

The accused, John Patrick Anderson (21), of Scally Park in the Co Antrim village of Loughgiel, claimed he had only gone to the nearby Millennium Centre to “disable the sound system because of the racket” from the wedding party.

Anderson made an unsuccessful application for bail at Coleraine Magistrates’ Court via video link from Maghaberry prison yesterday.

A police officer said in the early hours of Saturday, July 16 this year, family members associated with the wedding party were still in the community facility when a woman going outside was approached by a “scruffy looking” balaclava-wearing man carrying a large kitchen knife with a five-inch blade.

When she asked him what he was doing, Anderson allegedly put the knife to her throat and the woman, a mental health worker, tried to talk to him and asked him what he wanted.

The police officer said the woman put her hands up and tried to back away from Anderson until she was pushed up against a wall and “she thought she was going to die”.

The officer said at that stage the woman’s father came out and broke a table over the back of the defendant and the balaclava was then pulled off.

The PSNI officer said Anderson identified himself and said he had “mental health issues”.

A prosecutor said the case will be going to the Crown Court where the defendant — who is charged with having a knife as an offensive weapon and attempted grievous bodily harm with intent — could face up to four years in jail if convicted.

Defence solicitor Ciaran Shiels said it was a “bizarre situation” when Anderson had been at home and was “unable to sleep because of the racket coming from the Millennium Centre”.

Added the lawyer: “He went up to disable the sound system and it was not his intention to hurt anyone.”

Remanding Anderson in custody until January, District Judge Liam McNally said coming up to Christmas there would potentially be many loud parties.

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