Belfast Telegraph

Fermanagh man attacked partner with axe after berating her cooking, court told

Belfast High Court.
Belfast High Court.

By Alan Erwin

A Northern Ireland man allegedly attacked his partner with an axe after berating her cooking skills, the High Court heard.

Prosecutors also claimed 36-year-old Robert Bruce tried to choke the woman during a drink-fuelled assault at their home in Co Fermanagh.

He had the axe and a knife when police arrested him at a children's play park earlier this month, a judge was told.

Bruce, of Killyvilly Estate in Enniskillen, faces charges of false imprisonment, attempting to choke and cause grievous bodily harm, common assault, criminal damage, and two counts of possessing an offensive weapon in public.

At a bail hearing a Crown lawyer claimed violence flared on September 14 while the couple were preparing dinner in their kitchen.

She said Bruce had been drinking whisky for several hours and became increasingly aggressive, berating his partner about her cooking and hitting her about the arms and body.

He allegedly cornered and jabbed the woman with a plastic chair before following her upstairs - where their child was asleep.

According to the prosecution he pinned the complainant down on a bed, punching her about the head and body and trying to choke her.

But due to his intoxicated state she managed to get out of the house and into her car, before turning back due to concern for the sleeping child.

It was claimed that Bruce grabbed her by the hair, inflicting punches and demanding the keys to the vehicle while she held onto the steering wheel.

He then allegedly smashed her mobile phone, retrieved an axe from the garage and used it to knock on the car window.

"When the injured party got out of the vehicle he swung the axe three times, connecting with her knee on the third occasion," prosecution counsel contended.

The woman ran to a neighbour's house where police were alerted.

Officers called to the scene detained Bruce in a nearby play park, allegedly in possession of the two weapons.

His partner sustained bruising injuries during the incident, the court heard.

Statements have been obtained from witnesses who claim to have either heard screams or spotted Bruce with an axe.

Opposing bail, the Crown lawyer expressed concerns for the alleged victim because she is not from the area and has no nearby family.

Gavyn Cairns, defending, raised the possibility of his client being released to live at an address in Co Tyrone.

But adjourning the application, Mr Justice Horner sought assurances there would be no risk to another child who lives at that location.

He insisted: "I wouldn't countenance it unless there is a report from social services."

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