Belfast Telegraph

Man swung an axe at partner he had tried to choke, court told

'Bail was opposed, the officer stated, due to concerns if released Bruce would return to the family home and attempt to pressure his partner into dropping the charges' (stock photo)
'Bail was opposed, the officer stated, due to concerns if released Bruce would return to the family home and attempt to pressure his partner into dropping the charges' (stock photo)

By Staff Reporter

A judge has described the details of an alleged domestic abuse attack in which an axe and a knife were brandished as "sustained, prolonged and disgraceful".

District Judge Michael Ranaghan made the remarks at Enniskillen Magistrates Court as he refused bail for a man described by his lawyer as "a computer engineer on a significant salary".

Robert Bruce (36), from Killyvilly Estate, Enniskillen, is charged with assaulting his partner on September 14, as well as attempting to choke and maliciously inflict grievous bodily harm, falsely imprisoning her, destroying her phone and possessing offensive weapons, namely an axe and a knife.

A police officer said all charges could be connected.

Objecting to bail, she explained the couple were cooking together in their kitchen on the evening in question while their child was asleep in bed.

Bruce had been drinking whiskey all day and began to belittle his partner's cooking skills and jab her ribs.

It distressed the injured party who told Bruce to stop. He reacted in fury and boxed her into a corner of the kitchen. Due to his intoxicated state, the injured party was able to slip past him into the utility room.

He followed and using a plastic chair, pinned her against the wall. She managed to slip past him and fled upstairs.

Bruce gave chase and threw the injured party on a bed, placed his hand about her throat, then lay on top of her, beating her about the head.

The terrified woman was mindful of the sleeping child and managed to escape with the intention of getting assistance.

She fled from the house and into her car, but hesitated knowing the child was in the house.

Bruce opened the driver's door and reigned blows on the injured party while demanding the car keys. He attempted to drag her out but she kept hold of the steering wheel until he let go.

He grabbed her phone from the vehicle and smashed it against a wall, then appeared to move away. A short time later the injured party heard a tapping sound which increased to banging.

Bruce had returned and was knocking the windows with an axe. The woman jumped from the car, while Bruce swung the axe at her three times, the final one connecting with her knee.

She made it to a neighbour's house and police were alerted.

Officers located Bruce in a nearby children's play park, with the axe and a kitchen knife.

Bail was opposed, the officer stated, due to concerns if released Bruce would return to the family home and attempt to pressure his partner into dropping the charges.

While accepting matters remain at this stage "alleged", Judge Ranaghan noted a child was in the house at the time.

"This was a sustained, prolonged and disgraceful attack," he said. "I find the defendant does present a risk to the injured party, with risk also of interference."

Bruce was remanded in custody to appear again by video-link next month.

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