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Dad attacked with hammer and knife, court told

A man wearing a Halloween mask broke into a west Belfast home to carry out a hammer and knife attack, the High Court heard today.

He inflicted lacerations and head wounds to a man in his 40s in front of the victim's wife and children, it was claimed.

Prosecutors said police arriving at the scene at Laurelbank in Poleglass were greeted by a young boy screaming and crying: "He's got a knife and he's killed my daddy."

They found the injured man, who also suffered a fractured eye-socket, multiple bruising and scratched eye, slumped against the front door covered in blood.

Gerard Patrick Dugan, of Upper Dunmurry Lane, Belfast, faces charges of attempted murder, burglary and attempted burglary with intent to commit grievous bodily harm over the alleged attack early on Sunday.

The 23-year-old is also accused of aggravated assault on a female, possession of an offensive weapon, and assault on police.

He was refused bail after a judge ruled he posed a serious risk to the public.

Fiona O'Kane, prosecuting, said police were waived down in the area by a woman claiming a man was being stabbed to death.

They broke into the house next door, where Dugan's girlfriend lived, to find him agitated and yelling he was going to kill any officers there, it was claimed.

The accused lunged at police before being put into handcuffs and leg restraints, the court heard.

Mrs O'Kane said police learned Dugan had allegedly carried out a hammer and knife attack, although the victim thought a crowbar may have been used.

All three items were recovered from the house next door, according to the prosecutor.

She told the court: "The wife of the injured party said as she was stood in the hallway of her home she saw a male in dark clothing, wearing a Halloween mask and holding a kitchen knife attack her husband."

At one stage the family dog was let into the house in a bid to protect them before the woman fled in fear, Mrs O'Kane said.

Others who arrived at the scene were allegedly warned to get into their own homes, with Dugan shouting: "This isn't over."

He tried to bite a police officer after his arrest and then attempted to hang himself in a cell, the court heard.

Barry Gibson, defending, acknowledged: "This is an appalling incident for any family to experience."

The barrister said Dugan had been celebrating his girlfriend's birthday by drinking wine and then vodka jelly.

"It's a recipe for disaster. By this stage of the morning he appears to have been completely intoxicated," he said.

"Whether it was noise emanating from the next door neighbours or whether it is something that happened in the past, he clearly went off the Richter scale."

Mr Gibson said that Dugan was still suffering from grief and depression following the death of his father, as well as his drink problems.

Refusing bail, Mr Justice McLaughlin told the accused: "You are a serious risk to the public."

Belfast Telegraph