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Man accused of kneeing pregnant partner in stomach in Belfast home attack refused bail

Judge suggests charges should be more serious

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Belfast Crown Court

Belfast Crown Court

PA Archive/PA Images

Belfast Crown Court

A man who allegedly tried to smother and choke his heavily pregnant partner must remain in custody, a judge has ruled.

Michael Gibson, 29, is also accused of kneeing the woman in the stomach during the suspected attack at her home in south Belfast.

Refusing bail, District Judge Mark Hamill said: "You could put forward the International Space Station as an address [and I wouldn't release him]."

Gibson, of no fixed abode, is charged with two counts of common assault and criminal damage to the property.

Belfast Magistrates' Court, on Friday, heard the woman made a 999 call on April 25, claiming she woke up with Gibson putting a pillow over her face in an attempt to suffocate her.

During a subsequent struggle she was grabbed by the neck and trailed around by her hair, it was alleged.

According to an account given at the time she tried to fight back, but was kneed in the stomach as she tried to get away.

The alleged assault occurred while she was holding another, 11-month old child in her arms, a PSNI officer said.

The woman was heavily pregnant at the time and has since given birth.

Defence solicitor Una Conway confirmed Gibson denies the charges.

She stressed the woman had no physical injuries, and has not made a formal statement of complaint.

"My understanding is that the injured party does not wish to cooperate," the lawyer added.

Mounting a fresh application for bail, Ms Conway argued that an address well away from the woman's home is now available.

But Mr Hamill held there was no change of circumstances to warrant releasing her client.

Remanding Gibson in custody for a further four weeks, the judge also suggested he should be facing more serious charges.

"A woman allegedly smothered and allegedly strangled," he pointed out.

"The idea of common assault for a case like that is a nonsense."

Belfast Telegraph