Belfast Telegraph

Man accused of meat cleaver murder bid

By Alan Eriwn

A Lithuanian national was allegedly attacked with a meat cleaver and knife at a meeting in Armagh to resolve a dispute "man to man", the High Court heard.

Prosecutors said he was stabbed in the back in a clash which may be linked to a relationship his partner was previously in.

Details emerged as bail was granted to a fellow Eastern European accused of trying to kill him during the confrontation on November 1. Laisvydas Maleckas (28), of Boat Street in Newry, faces charges of attempted murder and possessing an offensive weapon with intent.

It was claimed he made a threatening phone call to the injured man before attacking him at an alleyway near the Killuney Drive area of Armagh.

Kate McKay, prosecuting, said: "The injured party agreed to meet this applicant with the plan to sort the matter out in what was described as 'man to man'."

She alleged that Maleckas produced a small axe or meat cleaver, striking him on the arm as he tried to defend himself.

"The injured party would say he was struck on the back with the knife, and he said he felt the knife go into his body," Mrs Mckay added.

It was claimed that Maleckas fled as the man, bleeding heavily, sought help from local residents.

The alleged victim was in a critical condition when first admitted to hospital, the court heard. He also sustained a collapsed lung but has since been discharged following surgery.

His account is backed up by independent witnesses, the prosecution contended.

Mrs McKay said Maleckas was thought to have been in a relationship with the alleged victim's partner at one stage. The two men met in order to sort their differences out, it was claimed.

"The injured party accepted they would likely have a fight and that would be it over and done with," Mrs McKay explained.

Defence counsel argued, however, that it was the wounded man who challenged his client for allegedly having had sex with his girlfriend or ex-girlfriend.

Maleckas denies having any weapon, claiming the other man came looking for him. "He said there was a short fight and then he walked away," his lawyer added.

The accused went voluntarily to police when he heard they were looking for him. He was said to be shocked to discover he was being charged with attempted murder.

Granting bail, Mr Justice Colton banned Maleckas from entering Armagh or making contact with any witnesses in the case.

Belfast Telegraph


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