Belfast Telegraph

Man filmed bloody Belfast Zoo attack, court told

By Alan Erwin

A man allegedly carried out a violent attack at Belfast Zoo before filming the blood-covered victim, a court heard on Monday.

Piaras Heatley is accused breaking the other man's nose and stealing his wallet containing £130 after they had met up at the popular visitor attraction.

The 22-year-old defendant, of Collinward Avenue in Newtownabbey, is charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm, theft, criminal damage and threats to kill.

Heatley also faces counts of intimidating a witness amid claims he approached the victim on a bus in a bid to get him to drop the complaint.

Bail was refused as he appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court for the first time.

A judge was told the injured party knew Heatley and had agreed to a meeting at Belfast Zoo on May 19 last year.

He claimed when they met the accused knocked him to the ground and then continued to punch him about the face.

A police officer said: "During the assault the victim recalls that Heatley took pictures or videos on a phone."

It was alleged that before the defendant left he warned the man would be stabbed if he went to the police.

Passers-by found him and took him to hospital, where it was confirmed that he had sustained nasal fractures and facial bruising.

He had to return for further medical treatment after suffering a seizure the following day, the court heard.

A mobile phone was seized when police arrested Heatley at his home, according to the officer.

She added: "It has been examined and has a video of the victim on the ground covered in blood."

Heatley was originally released on police bail pending further investigations.

But according to police he has since tried to intimidate the victim, threatening to get him "done" and telling him "everything will be sweet" if he drops the charges.

Defence solicitor Pearse MacDermott confirmed Heatley denies all the allegations against him.

Refusing bail, however, District Judge Nigel Broderick cited the risk of witness interference.

He remanded Heatley in custody to appear again by video-link on June 11.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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