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Fermanagh woman threatened with meat-cleaver, court told

A vulnerable woman discovered by her carer distressed and struggling to breathe was threatened with a meat-cleaver after being held against her will in her Co Fermanagh home, it is claimed.

The disclosure came as a man appeared at Dungannon Magistrates Court yesterday charged with a series of offences.

Blaine Duffy (26), of Drumbawn Close, Enniskillen, allegedly broke into the woman's home on Wednesday armed with a meat-cleaver, detained her against her will, then assaulted and threatened to kill her.

There are also five counts of assaulting police, threatening to kill another person, threatening to damage a car and attempting to take it without consent and eight counts of criminal damage.

Having been arrested and taken to South West Acute Hospital as a precaution, Duffy was accused of disorderly behaviour.

The detective said all charges could be connected, but a defence lawyer disputed this in respect of four charges relating to the victim, as there is no statement of complaint.

The court heard the woman's care-worker arrived shortly before 8.30pm, having let herself in and heard her "struggling to breathe and crying".

Through a semi-open door, she heard a voice say "it's the home help", before the door was slammed shut. Fearful, she left the property, locked herself in her car and rang police.

On arrival an officer spoke with the victim, who suffers from various health conditions, who identified Duffy as the offender. Another woman appeared in the house named 'Trisha' claiming to be Duffy's mother.

A meat-cleaver was located on a table and a door's glass panel was smashed. Blood was noted in the hall, kitchen and living room.

The victim described being imprisoned by Duffy for an hour, who she tried to calm down due to his escalating agitation.

He demanded her car keys while brandishing the meat-cleaver, placing it at her head, throat and wrists, shouting: "You think I won't f****** kill you." Duffy allegedly instructed the victim to "wipe the blood from her face" and send the carer away.

Referring to bodyworn footage, the detective said: "It is very clear how fearful this lady is. She has requested emergency rehousing... she is aware of the defendant. In the footage she says: 'He will kill me.'"

The other matters occurred after police learned Duffy had fled to a nearby house and officers were required to force entry.

The defence argued against any connection with his client and the vulnerable woman, saying: "There is no statement of complaint and she does not identify him in the bodyworn footage.

"There is no evidence 'Trisha' is my client's mother. At best this is a person who claims to be his mother."

But District Judge Michael Ranaghan said: "I am more than satisfied I can connect."

Duffy was remanded in custody to appear at Enniskillen Magistrates Court by video-link later this month.

Belfast Telegraph