Belfast Telegraph

Accused denied bail over raid on woman who won £23k on Deal Or No Deal

By Alan Erwin

A gardener accused of carrying out an armed and violent raid on the home of a television game show winner must remain in custody, a High Court judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Horner refused Jonathan Lyttle's bail application after being told a three-man gang forced their way into a house in Ballymena, Co Antrim claiming to be from the INLA.

Linda Moore had a pistol pointed at her before her husband Dale was hit with a hammer by the intruders demanding money, it was alleged.

Around £1,600 in cash was taken before the men escaped, prosecutors said.

According to the judge, the family had been subjected to a "frightening and vicious" ordeal on November 28.

He said: "One cannot begin to contemplate the physical and mental scars left by the attack."

Lyttle (35), from Glenluce Walk in Belfast, faces charges of possessing a pistol with intent to endanger life, carrying a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence, aggravated burglary and theft, causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mr Moore, and a common assault on Mrs Moore.

She scooped £23,000 as a contestant on the Channel 4 game show Deal Or No Deal earlier this year.

The court heard how she answered the door at her Moat Road home just before 3pm to be confronted by a man in a high-visibility jacket talking about manhole covers.

Conor Maguire, prosecuting, said the caller then barged in, brandishing what appeared to be a pistol. Two other masked men followed him inside, claiming to be from the INLA and seeking cash, he added.

Mr Moore was then assaulted with a hammer, suffering a significant cut to his head.

According to Mr Maguire, the money was handed over after the couple believed they heard a shot being discharged.

The men escaped in a waiting car and mounted the footpath in an attempt to avoid a bus, the court heard.

Less than an hour later Lyttle and a second accused were arrested when a Volkswagen Passat was stopped in Newtownabbey.

Defence counsel Michael Boyd argued his client had not been identified in the victims' accounts.

Refusing bail, Mr Justice Horner held there was a risk of either reoffending or interfering with the investigation.

Belfast Telegraph

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