Belfast Telegraph

Man tells court he was bitten and threatened with gun by intruders

BY ALAN ERWIN

A MAN was allegedly bitten and had a gun held against him amid suspicions he brought a young child into a makeshift "Rangers bar", the High Court has heard.

He claims intruders subjected him to a 45-minute assault and called him an "Orange b******" after entering his flat in Coleraine, Co Londonderry, a judge was told. Simon Fleming (44), of Somerset Drive in the town, denies aggravated burglary with intent to commit grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and intimidation over the incident.

During a bail application prosecutors said he and a co-accused allegedly arrived at the man's Drumtarsey Road home on November 22 and started questioning him. According to his account, they wanted to know if he had taken a child aged three or four to drinking premises being operated at the back of a house in nearby Articlave village.

"Exception was taken to the bar i n question being a loyalist bar, a Rangers bar," a Crown lawyer said.

Detectives were told Fleming allegedly produced a pistol. The man claimed he was punched and kicked, and that the co-accused bit him above his eye.

"At one stage he said the gun was placed against his neck as threats were being made," the prosecutor said. "He stated that he was referred to as an Orange b****** on a number of occasions."

It has now been established he never took the child to the bar, the court was told. Ben Thompson, defending, described the allegations against Fleming as "a work of fiction". He said his client went to the apartment because it was a "good house for a party", only for the complainant to start behaving erratically. The barrister argued that a cut above the man's eye was due to a brief fight between him and the co-accused, rather than any sustained assault involving allegations of stamping and kicking.

Mr Thompson also disclosed Fleming himself sustained brain injuries earlier this year when he was dragged 500 yards along a road by a horse. He spent three months in hospital, the court heard. Adjourning his bail application, judge Sir Richard McLaughlin said he wanted more details on a proposed address outside Coleraine.

However, he granted Fleming temporary prison release to attend a hospital appointment today.

Belfast Telegraph

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