Belfast Telegraph

Antrim man accused of beating dad unconscious refused bail

By Alan Erwin

A Co Antrim man allegedly beat his elderly father unconscious and declared that he had wanted to "do him in" for years, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors claimed Paul Coulter inflicted repeated blows to the 74-year-old victim's head in a bid to kill him, leaving him in a bloodied state and hospitalised for five days.

At one point Coulter's mother tried to lie on top of her husband to protect him, a judge was told.

The 43-year-old defendant denies a charge of attempted murder, claiming two intruders carried out the assault at the family home in Ardtole Park, Newtownabbey on August 21.

Bail was refused amid allegations that he has been controlling and aggressive towards his parents.

Crown lawyer David McClean said police called to the scene found the accused's father in a blood-splattered living room.

He had sustained several lacerations to his head and face, while both eyes badly swollen.

The pensioner was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital where he received 24 stitches.

Despite a limited recollection, the court heard he believed his son had knocked him unconscious with a bottle.

His wife alleges she witnessed their son punch him repeatedly about head, leave the room and then return to resume the assault.

"She stated that the applicant attacked her husband, saying 'I'm doing him in, I have wanted to do this for years'," Mr McClean told the judge.

She was said to have run to a neighbour's house to raise the alarm.

When police arrived Paul Coulter was in a change of clothing and the washing machine running, according to the prosecution.

It was stopped and blood-stained garments retrieved.

The accused also faces charges of criminal damage and common assault on his mother.

Pressed for a motive behind the alleged attack, Mr McClean could identify no previous domestic incidents.

But opposing bail, he added: "The applicant's mother and father said he was controlling to them at the home."

Defence counsel David Heraghty confirmed his client denies the offences, providing an alternative account of what happened.

"He alleges that two people came to the address, carried out the attack on his father, and that he encountered these persons on the way out," the barrister said.

Two sets of footprints found in the back garden backs up this version of events, it was contended.

But despite suggesting Coulter could live at a hostel in Ballymena, the application was denied.

Citing the risk of further offences, Lord Justice Stephens said: "There's a prima facie case of an, as yet, unexplained, vicious and sustained assault by the applicant on his father.

"The context here is very vulnerable, elderly individuals who must be considerably shaken by what has occurred."

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