Belfast Telegraph

Omagh man threatened to cut off partner's head in series of assaults, court told

By Staff Reporter

A man threatened to cut off his partner's breast with a knife and also tried to choke her with a telephone cord as part of a terrifying series of domestic assaults, a court has been told

John Anthony Hughes (53) of Knockshee Park in Omagh, who had recently been released from prison after serving a sentence for assaulting his partner, has been returned to custody following the spate of alleged offences against the same woman.

Hughes is accused of 11 charges, which include assaults, threats to kill, possessing an offensive weapon and attempting to choke in order to commit grievous bodily harm.

A detective constable told Omagh Magistrates Court she believed she could connect Hughes to the offences, which are alleged to have occurred on various dates between December and April.

Objecting to bail, a detective constable explained police were alerted by a friend of the victim who was concerned for her welfare. Officers attended with the victim who made a six-page statement outlining a number of attacks which had occurred since Hughes returned from serving the prison sentence.

She claimed during an incident on December 29, he called her a variety of derogatory names and ripped her T-shirt. He then wrapped a telephone cord around her neck and said: "You're going to die b*****d". The victim, who spoke to police on April 30, said the previous four days had been the worst she had ever endured. In one incident, Hughes had demanded sex, then spat on her and made accusations that she had cheated on him whilst he was in prison.

The woman was lying on her bed and he slapped and headbutted her. He then lay over her and held a knife to her neck which he dragged downwards along the line of her breast and said: "I'm going to kill you and cut off your head."

He then threatened to cut off her breast.

The woman, who by this stage was becoming suicidal, made her way to the home of a friend in whom she confided. During this time she received a text from Hughes which read: "I'll find you. Who dares wins."

On being arrested Hughes denied all allegations put to him. He accepted sending the text, but claimed it was "banter".

The detective said it has since emerged Hughes is wanted by An Garda Siochana in relation to an alleged assault against the same injured party in the Republic, where the couple lived for a time.

In addition, while remanded in custody for the previous attack, the injured party received a letter from Hughes asking her to drop the charges.

Police were firmly opposed to bail because of the violent domestic history and a fear of reoffending.

A defence solicitor said Hughes, who denies all the charges, could be released on bail and put forward an address some 40 miles from the victim's home, and suggested signing daily with police, saying: "My client now realises the relationship is over and he won't be contacting or going back to (the victim) again."

Refusing bail District Judge Peter King said: "The defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence, but I have to balance bail or a remand in custody. Frankly the details outlined in court send shivers down my spine. Clearly there is a distinct and disturbing history."

Hughes was remanded in custody to appear by video-link at Omagh Magistrates Court on May 24.

Belfast Telegraph


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