Belfast Telegraph

Couple bailed after woman who had face slashed drops her complaint

By Alan Erwin

A couple accused of slashing a woman's face with a knife because she was in a relationship with their teenage daughter were granted bail yesterday.

The pair were released from custody after a judge at the High Court was told that the injured party had withdrawn her statement of complaint.

A prosecution barrister accepted that her decision substantially weakened the case against the husband and wife, who were said to have carried out the hate crime on May 29.

It is expected that the woman will be scarred for the rest of her life because of wounds allegedly inflicted by the couple near a police station in Lurgan.

She previously told detectives she had been repeatedly slashed at a meeting with the pair.

The couple, aged 43 and 44, face charges of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of an offensive weapon. They are not being named in order to protect the identity of their 16-year-old daughter.

It was claimed that the victim evaded the accused for three days after learning that they planned to harm her because of her lesbian relationship with their daughter.

She went to the police station in an attempt to find a safe place, but then left and met with the couple and a co-accused at a car park, the court heard.

Prosecution counsel Robin Steer said the woman claimed the husband and wife tried to pull her into a vehicle. At that point the man allegedly urged his wife: "Cut the face off her or I'm going to do it."

The female accused then produced a carpet knife and slashed the woman's face several times, according to the prosecution.

Mr Steer said the victim sustained severe lacerations across her cheek that needed stitches.

"She is obviously in fear of these people," he continued. "The prosecution case is this is a hate crime in terms of her sexuality and that she is in a same-sex relationship with (the couple's) daughter."

However, Mr Steer also confirmed the victim had retracted her complaint.

Mr Justice Maguire acknowledged the statement withdrawal "undermined" the criminal proceedings but stressed the couple still currently face charges.

Granting bail, he ordered them to put up £5,000 in cash sureties and banned them from any contact with the stab victim.

Belfast Telegraph


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