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Man suffers catastrophic head injuries after getting caught in armed fight between relatives in Dungannon, court told

Court hears axe, machete, wheel brace and baseball used during dispute between family members


Belfast High Court (PA Images)

Belfast High Court (PA Images)

Belfast High Court (PA Images)

A man suffered catastrophic head injuries after getting caught up in a "frenzied" armed fight between relatives, the High Court heard today.

Prosecutors said he was left unrecognisable and underwent surgery to remove part of his skull following clashes where an axe, machete and wheel brace were all wielded.

Details emerged as bail was granted to a 31-year-old man accused of trying to kill him during the confrontation in Dungannon, Co Tyrone on November 2.

Lee Hamilton, of Elm Avenue in the town, is charged with attempted murder and motoring offences.

Violence allegedly flared when he and a neighbour travelled to Cookstown for an arranged fight with his uncle and the injured party.

A Crown lawyer claimed Hamilton brought a metal bar with him, but returned home after being injured by a machete.

Their opponents then allegedly arrived at Elm Avenue in a car and tried to knock them down.

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Assorted weapons were produced as all four men fought again in the street, the court heard.

According to the prosecution a blood-soaked machete, wheel brace, baseball bat, axe and imitation gun were all seized.

The defendant's uncle, Don Hamilton, 41, of Cherry Hill, Cookstown, faces charges of possessing offensive weapons and dangerous driving in connection with the incident.

Luis Mederia, 23, of Elm Avenue, Dungannon, is accused of having a hatchet.

All three men are also charged with affray.

It was revealed that the man Lee Hamilton is accused of trying to kill was placed in a medically induced coma and remains in intensive care at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

"When police arrived he was lying in the middle of the road with catastrophic injuries to his face and a large open wound to his skull," prosecution counsel disclosed.

Residents who found him in the street initially thought he was Lee Hamilton.

"Because of the level of injuries they were unable to recognise him," the barrister added.

Part of the man's skull was removed due to the level of swelling to his brain.

Defence counsel Blaine Nugent said it was a family argument which quickly got out of control.

"It's clear that this was a frenzied incident," he acknowledged.

Mr Nugent argued, however, that Lee Hamilton was not the "primary aggressor" and had returned home covered in blood from his own wounds.

Granting bail, Lord Justice McCloskey ordered the accused to abide by a curfew and exclusion zones.

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