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Murder bid accused duo tried to hijack taxi using pizza cutter, Belfast court told


Police attending the scene of the incident in Woodvale Drive

Police attending the scene of the incident in Woodvale Drive

Police attending the scene of the incident in Woodvale Drive

Two men accused of attempted murder had also tried to hijack a taxi using a pizza cutter, a court has heard.

William John Paul (32) and Derek Armstrong (26) are charged over attacks that culminated in a number of people being taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Paul, of Harmin Drive in Newtownabbey, is accused of wielding a samurai sword, glass bottle and another sword during clashes at Woodvale Drive, north Belfast, on Sunday.

He faces two counts of attempted murder, attempted wounding and threats to kill. Paul is further charged with counts of possessing an offensive weapon in public, inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, attempted hijacking, two common assaults, criminal damage and two counts of theft.

Entering the dock at Belfast Magistrates Court with what appeared to be bandaging around his arms, he spoke only to confirm he understood the charges. He was remanded in custody until Friday.

Armstrong, of Cosgrave Court in the city, appeared on seven charges, including attempted murder, attempted hijacking, possessing an offensive weapon, common assault, criminal damage, the theft of a wallet and stealing £200 in a burglary at Glencairn Way.

His face heavily bruised and cut, he nodded to indicate he understood the charges. A detective who opposed Armstrong's bid for bail claimed the defendant had known most of the witnesses and injured parties for most of his life.

He also told the court a taxi driver was targeted after picking up two men from an address on the Limestone Road. A struggle broke out when his passengers produced the pizza cutter, threatened the driver and told him to hand over the car, it was claimed. Both men then fled, police said.

A prosecution lawyer alleged that phone records linked the two accused to the incident. She revealed that a text Armstrong is suspected of sending read: "We are ditching this taxi. Want to rob him with a pizza slicer?"

After his co-accused had allegedly indicated his consent, it was claimed that he continued: "No sweat... you throw knife at his throat, we take his motor."

Armstrong's solicitor Matt Higgins argued that the case involved three incidents and stressed the severity of his client's injuries, including seven staples in his head.

"He has made a counter allegation that he was the victim of an assault," Mr Higgins told the court. "He wants to make a complaint to seek prosecution of the alleged injured parties."

However, refusing bail, District Judge Fiona Bagnall cited risks of interference with witnesses and reoffending. She remanded Armstrong in custody to appear again on February 16.

Belfast Telegraph