Belfast Telegraph

Belfast road rage accused 'dug his nails into motorist's face', court hears

Desmond Whitby appeared before Belfast High Court on Monday (stock photo)
Desmond Whitby appeared before Belfast High Court on Monday (stock photo)

By Alan Erwin

A man allegedly dug his nails into another motorist's face during one of two episodes of suspected road rage, the High Court in Belfast has heard.

Desmond Whitby is separately accused of getting out of his van and punching a woman several times in the face in the second incident.

Prosecutors also claimed the 57-year-old told another man he would "chop up" his family in an unrelated dispute over money.

Whitby, of Divis Tower in Belfast, denies two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and a further charge of threats to kill over the three incidents.

Refusing bail, His Honour Judge David McFarland cited the risk of potential further offences.

Whitby was first arrested after police became aware of an altercation with the first alleged victim outside Lisburn PSNI Station on October 27 last year.

That man was visibly shaking and had blood dripping down his face from a number of open wounds, the court was told.

He claimed to have been driving along Queensway in Dunmurry, south-west Belfast, when Whitby pulled up alongside in his van and waved at him.

When he put his window down the accused started shouting at him about the speed limit, the man alleged.

"Whitby then reached through the window and grabbed his face, digging nails into the skin and drawing blood," a Crown lawyer claimed.

A second alleged bout of road rage occurred at a car park in Lisburn, Co Antrim on June 6 this year.

According to the prosecution Whitby got out of his van at Knockmore Square, approached an aunt and niece in another vehicle and began shouting aggressively.

He allegedly threw a number of hard punches at the younger woman, inflicting a bloodied and suspected broken nose.

In the latest incident, it was claimed that he demanded money from a man in unwanted calls texts on September 12.

The court heard claims that Whitby told the injured party he was going to kill him and his eight-year-old son.

"He also allegedly said he would kill his son's granny and aunt, and that he was going to chop them all up," the prosecutor added.

A defence lawyer argued that Whitby has made counter allegations that he was the one assaulted or threatened in all three incidents.

Mr McFarland heard one of the complainants was allegedly involved in a campaign which led to the accused being forced out of previous accommodation.

Denying bail, however, the judge said: "In all the circumstances I would have concerns about further offending."

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