Belfast Telegraph

Burglary accused faces Clough murder bid charge

By Paul Higgins

A man has been charged with attempted murder after a woman in her 50s was tied up in a Co Down house which was then set on fire by masked burglars.

Niall Lynch (35) was one of three men remanded into custody after a series of burglaries.

Standing side by side in the dock of Downpatrick Magistrates Court, Lynch, Alan Stewart (30) and Ruairi Walls (27) confirmed they understood the charges against them.

Lynch, from Mill River close in Ardglass, faces 14 charges including attempted murder, false imprisonment and arson with intent to endanger life on February 19.

Stewart, from Knockburn Gardens, Lisburn, faces 10 charges including burglary.

Walls, of no fixed address, also faces 11 charges including burglary.

While the three defendants all appeared together, it was clarified that Lynch alone faces allegations of attempted murder and false imprisonment.

The charges come after a woman who had been working in a house on School Road in Clough was tied up by intruders last Monday.

At the time, police said two masked men had entered the house shortly after 1pm and that the cleaner, who is in her 50s, was tied up before the thieves made off with an iPad and a Mac Book in a grey Peugeot 206.

Money is also understood to have been taken during the burglary.

A fire was started in an upstairs room at the time, but the woman was helped to safety by two women who spotted smoke as they were driving past the house.

Police and the Fire Service rushed to the scene and the blaze was extinguished.

The car, which is understood to belong to the cleaner, was discovered later burned out at the Old Mill on the Clarkill Road in Castlewellan.

The other charges the trio face relate to burglaries in Belfast, Downpatrick and Ardglass between February 20 and 23.

Giving evidence to the court, a police officer said he believed he could connect the three men to their respective charges.

As no bail applications were lodged, District Judge Amanda Brady remanded all three to appear via videolink on March 22.

Belfast Telegraph

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