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Downpatrick woman charged with stabbing partner in murder bid released on bail

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Marian Fitzsimmons appeared via videolink at Downpatrick Magistrates Court

Marian Fitzsimmons appeared via videolink at Downpatrick Magistrates Court

Marian Fitzsimmons appeared via videolink at Downpatrick Magistrates Court

A Northern Ireland woman accused of trying to kill her partner by stabbing him in the chest in an argument over his alleged infidelity, continually wept as she appeared in court today.

Appearing at Downpatrick Magistrates Court via videolink, 29-year-old Marian Fitzsimmons confirmed she understood the two charges against her and was seen to repeatedly move her face mask to wipe her tears away.

Fitzsimmons, from Rathbeg Close in Downpatrick, is accused of attempting to murder her partner Darren Laverty and possessing a knife with intent to commit murder on September 12 this year.

The investigating officer said she believed she could connect Fitzsimmons to the charges, adding that she had objections to bail amid fears the defendant would reoffend or interfere with witnesses.

During a contested application for bail, she described how Fitzsimmons and Mr Laverty had been “drinking all day” when there was an argument about him allegedly cheating on her.

The two were in the kitchen at a house in the Pegasus Walk area on Saturday when according to witnesses Fitzsimmons reaches into the cutlery drawer and lifted a 9” knife which she allegedly raised and “brought down in a swift motion” towards the chest of Mr Laverty.

The 25-year-old alleged victim shouted “what the f***” and slumped to the floor while Fitzsimmons “immediately left the property.”

Mr Laverty was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital where he is being treated for a punctured lung and remains in the High Dependency Unit but the police hope to take a statement from him in the coming days.

Meanwhile, relatives of Fitzsimmons were spoken to by police as they sought to locate the defendant but after a number of hours she was eventually arrested.

During police interviews, the officer said, Fitzsimmons claimed she had been in a “physically and psychologically abusive relationship for four years” and that “anything she may or may not have done was done in self defence.”

District Judge Alan White said she had made “vague claims” over self defence and did not put forward any other information to support that.

The detective said she was aware of the number of incidents between the couple but claimed “it’s clear that the defendant is the instigator if the serious violence” including an allegation of a previous stabbing last February.

She told the court that formed the basis of her objection regarding witness interference as Mr Laverty’s mother reported there had been pressure made not to proceed with the complaint and others, who knew them well, say they’re “both volatile and can’t stay away from each other.”

“It’s time the police stepped in to make sure that happens,” declared the officer adding that there was a “strong likelihood that she could’ve killed him if the wound had been deeper or at a different angle.”

Under cross examination from defence solicitor Mark Austin, the officer conceded she herself had directed “no prosecution” on the earlier incident.

He submitted that with a proposed bail address 25 miles away, conditions could be put in place to address police concerns such as keeping her out of Downpatrick and barring any contact.

Judge White said he was minded to free Fitzsimmons because “the reality is that if she goes to the High Court for bail she will get it.”

He put in place however multiple conditions including a £1,000 cash surety to be lodged, a curfew along with an electronic tag m, a prohibition on alcohol, a ban in entering Downpatrick and from contacting the injured party or any prosecution witness.

Freeing a Fitzsimmons on her own bail of £300, the judge gave her a clear warning that to “be in absolutely no doubt that if you breach any of the conditions, you will be kept in custody and during the current Covid crisis, that’s likely to be a very long time.”

Her case was adjourned to 12 October.

Belfast Telegraph