A man who was kidnapped, “tortured” and stabbed with a hot knife was “within an hour from death” when he was found by chance dumped in a field, a court has heard.
Ballymena Magistrates Court also heard how the victim, who had been left in the field on the Lisnamurrikin Road near Broughshane wearing just his shoes and boxer shorts, was only spotted by binmen because of the height of the lorry.
PSNI Detective Constable Duffy told the court that according to doctors, “the victim was within an hour from death from possible hypothermia or blood loss due to the injuries” having been dumped there at some stage from around 2am.
Two more men appeared in court yesterday charged with the victim’s kidnap and attempted murder.
Appearing by videolink from police custody, David Philip Cherry (39) and Sean Davies (39) confirmed they understood the four charges against them.
Cherry, from Waveney Park in Belfast and Davies, from Queens Park in Saintfield, are jointly accused of attempted murder, kidnapping the same man and arson of his Volvo car on 11 October this year.
Cherry is further charged with possessing class C prescription drug diazepam on November 3, while Davies is accused of having class A cocaine on the same date.
Last week at the same court 36-year-old David Coleman, from Fountain Street, and Mark Bradshaw (51) from High Street, both in Ballymena, were remanded into custody on the same charges.
During a contested bail application, Mr Duffy told the court that having been sedated in intensive care for more than two weeks, the victim made a statement to police on November 19 that Cherry and Coleman had “invited him” to Coleman’s flat “to pack cocaine” to repay a debt he owed to Coleman.
Once there, Cherry asked for his mobile phone and while he was going through its contents, “providing Mr Coleman with information from the phone to suggest the victim had been hacking customers phones and taking customers from Mr Coleman… Mr Coleman has assaulted our victim.”
“Cherry has been present throughout this,” said the officer.
“He had laughed along and had encouraged the assault, punching him once in the face.”
She said that according to the victim, Coleman had “produced a knife, heating it on a gas hob, stabbing the injured party in the chest, close to his heart and then putting the point of the knife into the victim’s mouth and slashing him deeply”.
The court also heard claims the victim was ordered to strip and “clean up his own blood” before being dumped in the field.
According to the police case, Cherry drove the victim there in the boot of a BMW car along with a fifth as yet unidentified suspect who was armed with a hatchet which police believe was used to strike the victim to back of the head, fracturing his skull.
She told the court police were objecting to bail due to concerns about the risk of further offences, the risk of witness interference, and with a fifth suspect and Cherry’s BMW still being sought, that they could also interfere with the investigation.
Defence lawyers for the pair submitted that bail conditions could be put in place to assuage police concerns.
But describing the offences as “harrowing,” District Judge Nigel Broderick said he shared police fears over the risk of further offences and interference with both the witness and the investigation.
Cherry and Davies were remanded into custody and the case adjourned to December 30.