Two males, one of whom is a youth, have appeared in court accused of a joint-enterprise petrol bomb attack on a Dungannon house, in which two children – one of whom is a six week old baby – were present.
In disturbing evidence, it is alleged one shouted, “Kill the kids. Burn the house down.”
Colm James Murray (34) of Windmill Court, Dungannon and the youth who cannot be identified, face a total of 11 and six charges respectively.
They are jointly accused of arson, possessing of throwing a petrol bomb, burglary and criminal damage.
Murray is further accused of possessing an offensive weapon, assaulting police, resisting arrest as well as threatening to kill and to damage property.
The offences are alleged to have occurred at Killymaddy Hill, Dungannon on 9 February.
A police officer told Omagh Magistrates' Court the charges could be connected, explaining a female reported both males looking for her partner Leon McGlinchey.
Describing themselves as “The Ponda Mafia” the pair said Mr McGlinchey should, “Get everything off the street or we will burn down your house and do him in.”
The female knew the pair and said her partner wasn’t there, after which both left warning, “We’ll be back.”
Terrified, she and Mr McGlinchey decided to leave the property and gathered items to take with them including the baby’s Moses basket, placing these in the hallway.
They then observed the youth carrying two petrol bombs and Murray damaging their cars.
Comments were heard, including, “F*** it. Let’s kill the kids” and, “Burn the house down. Kill the kids.”
Murray smashed a garden seat through a window, while the youth lobbed the petrol bombs, which exploded in the doorway, igniting property including the Moses basket.
Police extinguished the fire on arrival and detained the youth at the scene. Murray fled but was arrested nearby, spitting on an officer in the process.
An odour of accelerant was detected from both.
Objecting bail for both, the officer said Murray, “Knows the victims and their address … There is an extensive record of 29 convictions for threats to kill and serious assaults … There appears to be some sort of feud going on.”
While confirming the youth has no record, the officer advised he is known to police for anti-social conduct.
Asking District Judge Oonagh Mullan to treat the matter as joint enterprise he said both accused, “Gave little thought the baby was potentially in the Moses basket, which was set alight.”
Defence for Murray argued, “My client accepts being at the house on the first occasion... he feels the injured parties have assumed he returned later, which is denied.”
The youth’s defence said, “This is serious and my client doesn’t shy from that. He is a 15-year-old child, extremely fearful of custody. His mother and grandfather are present and accept his behaviour has deteriorated.”
It was contended he could reside with his mother, who works full-time as a supervisor in a care facility.
Judge Mullan enquired, “If she works full-time, how can she monitor him? “
The defence said the grandfather would assist, to which Judge Mullan responded, “Did they know where he was when he was running the streets? I can’t ignore the fact he was seen with petrol bombs.”
Rejecting bail for both she concluded, “This is an extremely serious matter and the risks are too great. It must have been a terrifying experience for the injured parties.”
The pair were remanded in custody to appear by video-link at Dungannon Magistrates' Court later this month.