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Murder bid charge Belfast man tried to set neighbour on fire, court told

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The accused appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court

The accused appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court

PA Archive/PA Images

The accused appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court

A north Belfast man allegedly tried to set his neighbour on fire after jokes were made about his clothes, a court has heard.

Terry Mairs, 29, is accused of dousing the other man with accelerant when a row flared outside their homes at Silversteam Avenue on Tuesday, April 21.

Mairs appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court today on charges of attempted murder and possessing an offensive weapon, namely a bottle of petrol and lighter, with intent.

According to police a dispute broke out after the alleged victim's teenage stepson joked about a long coat Mairs was wearing.

It was claimed that threats were issued before Mairs ran out of his house and threw the contents of a bottle over the other man.

"The injured party stated that the defendant then made several attempts to set him alight," a detective said.

He added that the alleged victim feared for his life during the confrontation witnessed by others living on the street.

Defence solicitor Dennis Boyd stressed Mairs emphatically denies brandishing a lighter or pouring any flammable liquid over the man.

"He maintains that he's been the victim of a campaign by the alleged injured party and his wider family since he (Mairs) moved into that address," the lawyer submitted.

Referring to the incident on Tuesday, Mr Boyd continued: "There was a comment made to Mr Mairs on his way to the shops about a coat he was wearing in the heat.

"There was then an exchange between him and the boy on his return, which led to the alleged injured party coming to his home and attempting to gain entry."

District Judge George Conner was told forensic examinations are still to be carried out in a bid to establish if any accelerant was involved.

Granting bail, he ordered Mairs to live under curfew with his mother at another location in the city.

Mr Conner banned the accused from entering Silverstream Avenue or contacting the alleged victim.

He warned: "This was a borderline decision. Any breach and you're likely to be held in custody."

Belfast Telegraph