Belfast Telegraph

Man charged with attempted murder after Downpatrick stabbing leaves victim seriously injured

By Angela Rainey

A 22-year-old man suffered serious stab wounds to his side and back following an attack in Downpatrick yesterday.

A 21-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder and is to appear in court on Monday.

Detectives are appealing for witnesses to the assault which happened between 3.30am and 4am in Ardilea Park.

The victim was taken to hospital by ambulance but his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

The weapon, believed to be a knife, has yet to be located and residents in the Killough Road area are asked to be vigilant.

South Down SDLP MLA Colin McGrath said attacks involving knives appear to be more frequent and more needs to be done to deter people from carrying the weapons.

"It seems that across Northern Ireland we are hearing more and more about stabbings, especially at weekends," he said.

"I have always been an advocate for people being able to go out and enjoy themselves at the weekends without the fear of violence.

"For someone to be stabbing others they have to be carrying a knife or going out to get one - that's not a good thing to have within the community.

"It makes people feel very uneasy and it does not help.

"The police and courts need to crack down because there needs to be a stronger deterrent." Mr McGrath urged anyone with information to contact police.

"We must remove the culture of knife and stabbing incidents," he added.

"This type of violent incident is not acceptable and I would urge anyone with information to contact the PSNI immediately.

"I hope that the victim makes a full recovery but I'm concerned at such an incident. We could have been waking to a much more sinister headline."

Detective Sergeant Peter Stewart is appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

He said: "Just after 4am police were called to a property in the Killough Road area of the town where they found a 22-year-old man with serious stab wounds to his side and back.

"He was taken to hospital by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service for treatment to injuries which are not believed to be life-threatening at this time.

"We believe a knife may have been discarded after the assault and would ask the public in the Killough Road area to be vigilant and report any suspicious items they see to police immediately."

Anyone with information should contact detectives at Downpatrick by ringing 101, quoting reference 401 of 10/12/17 or speak anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Police charged the man with attempted murder, common assault and criminal damage. He will appear in Downpatrick Magistrates' Court on Monday, where as is usual procedure all charges will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service.

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