Belfast Telegraph

Belfast man sliced in face by masked intruders, court told

A Belfast man was sliced about the head and face after masked intruders wielding a knife and hammer entered a house on Christmas Eve, the High Court heard today.

He needed numerous stitches for a serious injury inflicted to his ear during the attack in the eastof the city, prosecutors said. A second man was allegedly struck over the head at the property on Castlereagh Street.

Details emerged as bail was granted to one of the two suspected assailants said to have been found hiding under a van in the area.

Michael McMurray, 27, with an address at Greenway in Belfast, faces charges of burglary with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm and three counts of common assault.

Crown lawyer Kate McKay said one of the alleged victims was hit with a hammer after answered the door on December 24.

Two men went inside the house and targeted the second male, she claimed.

Mrs McKay said the suspects' faces were exposed when their masks either slipped or were removed during a struggle.

McMurray was identified as the man allegedly carrying the hammer, while his co-accused was named as the man who used the blade to inflict head and facial cuts.

The intruders were removed from the house before two women were assaulted in an outside garden, according to the prosecution.

Police called to the scene followed their escape route and located McMurray under a vehicle, the court heard.

Mrs McKay said officers noted cuts to his face and blood stains on his socks.

Granting McMurray's application for release from custody, Mr Justice Colton pointed out that the co-accused obtained police bail.

Despite expressing some reservations, the judge said: "There's potential unfairness in those circumstances."

He imposed a curfew, electronic tagging and banned McMurray from contacting the alleged victims or co-accused.

Mr Justice Colton added: "Nor is he to enter Castlereagh Street in Belfast." 

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