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Men appear in court after burglars threaten baby with a knife

By Alan Erwin

Burglars threatened a six-month-old baby boy with a knife during a house raid in south Belfast, a court heard yesterday.

Police said another child was so traumatised by the break-in at Stranmillis Gardens that he doesn't want to return home.

Details emerged as two men accused of targeting the family in the early hours of Thursday were remanded in custody.

Seamus Rooney (30), of Kinnaird Terrace, and 25-year-old Tyrone Boyle, of Victoria Parade - both in Belfast - are jointly charged with aggravated burglary and possession of an offensive weapon, namely a knife.

Rooney faces further counts of criminal damage to a PSNI vehicle and assault on police.

Cash, a laptop computer, a Playstation console and children's toys were allegedly stolen by the knife-wielding intruders.

Appearing at Belfast Magistrates' Court, Rooney and Boyle confirmed they understood the charges against them.

Opposing bail, a police officer claimed they posed a risk of harm to the public.

"These are very serious offences where a small child was threatened with a knife ... the family are completely distressed," she said. "There was a seven-year-old child in the house as well; he's so traumatised that he doesn't want to return."

It was alleged that Rooney has shown "violent tendencies" in the past and was arrested but not charged in September over a suspected assault on his co-accused.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall was also told that Rooney allegedly made threats against Boyle while detained for the alleged burglary.

Defence lawyers argued that both accused could be released from custody to live well away from the scene of the break-in.

But refusing both applications, Judge Bagnall ruled: "I have to say there's a risk to the public."

The pair are due to appear again by videolink in four weeks' time.

Belfast Telegraph


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