Belfast Telegraph

Co Armagh man 'attacked with hammer over affair', court hears

Prosecutors claimed Gary Hillan, 37, drove 30 miles to launch the assault last week
Prosecutors claimed Gary Hillan, 37, drove 30 miles to launch the assault last week

By Alan Erwin

A man was attacked with a claw hammer over a suspected affair with his alleged assailant's wife, the High Court has heard.

He suffered a head wound as a work van parked at his Co Armagh home was smashed up in an apparent act of "retribution", a judge was told.

Prosecutors claimed Gary Hillan, 37, drove 30 miles to launch the assault last week.

Hillan, of Knockcairn Lodge in Dundrod, Co Antrim, faces charges of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, criminal damage, possessing an offensive weapon in public, threats to kill and threats to damage property.

Police called to the scene at Derrycrew Road, Loughgall at around 9am on February 19 discovered the windows on a Dale Farm van completely shattered.

A Crown lawyer said the vehicle's driver had also sustained a deep cut to his forehead.

The man alleged Hillan had used an 18-inch long claw hammer to attack him and damage the van.

He was taken to Craigavon Area Hospital where he underwent a brain scan and received six stitches.

In a statement he claimed that during the assault Hillan told him "I'm going to do you in", and further threatened: "I'm going to burn your house with you all in it."

As the accused was leaving the scene he allegedly glared at the victim and shouted: "It's not over."

A claw hammer was located and seized during searches of his home.

Opposing bail, the prosecutor said: "There was an accusation of an affair between the applicant's wife and this particular injured party.

"It's believed this attack may have been some kind of retribution."

She added: "(Hillan) was said to have driven over 30 miles in the morning to attack the injured party, suggesting premeditation."

Defence counsel Damien Halleron confirmed his client has accepted injuring the man and damaging his van, but denies intentionally wound him.

He described the events as "a tragedy" for both the victim and the Hillan family.

"There was a disclosure made by Mrs Hillan about a long-term relationship with the complainant," Mr Halleron said.

"The blood has gone to Mr Hillan's head, the red mist has come down, and he made an ill-judged decision to drive a considerable distance from the marital home in Dundrod to Loughgall."

The barrister added: "His world has come shattering down, very abruptly and without any notice."

He stressed, however, that the Hillans are working through any difficulties for the sake of their marriage.

Granting bail, Judge Brian Sherrard excluded the accused from Co Armagh and banned any contact with the injured party.

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