Belfast Telegraph

Student 'drunkenly assaulted uncle and mum'

A student who is considered
A student who is considered "extremely dangerous and a risk to others, particularly his mother" has been denied bail to resit a university exam

By Staff Reporter

A student who is considered "extremely dangerous and a risk to others, particularly his mother" has been denied bail to resit a university exam.

Caelan Harkin (23), from Meelmore Drive, Omagh, allegedly battered his uncle with a blackthorn stick, is considered to be highly dangerous to others, and has a protracted domestic violence history involving his mother, Enniskillen Magistrates Court has heard.

The judge told him his exam was the least of his worries.

Harkin also turned on his mother when she tried to contact police and punched her face, the court heard.

He is charged with unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on his uncle and a lesser assault on his mother.

Harkin is monitored in the community by a specific high-risk offender management team.

A detective constable confirmed the charges could be connected and objected to bail.

The court heard police received a call during the early hours of last Saturday (17th) from Harkin's mother who was in a "distressed and terrified state".

She explained that a few hours beforehand, Harkin had been at his uncle's home with her and a number of others, and all had been drinking.

Something of a disagreement occurred during which Harkin seized a blackthorn stick which had been propped against a wall and "battered" his uncle to the ground, leaving him severely injured, the court heard.

He then broke the stick into pieces and threw them on the fire, where they were burned.

His mother tried to contact police, but Harkin took her phone from her and retained it.

She ran outside to get help, but Harkin followed and "manhandled her back into the house", the court was told.

He then threw her on a bed and punched her in the face, leaving her chin significantly bruised. Terrified, the woman was unable to alert police until she returned to her own home.

Having outlined what had occurred she described her son as "dangerous when drinking".

The uncle was spoken to by police, who called an ambulance. He was treated at the scene by paramedics but refused to be taken to hospital despite the extent of injuries.

He too described Harkin as "dangerous and very aggressive when consuming alcohol".

The detective referred to the defendant as "extremely dangerous and a risk to others - particularly his mother". "There have been seven domestic incidents since June, and 10 previous breaches of bail," he added.

Whilst accepting the seriousness of the allegations against a background of a similarly serious previous record, a defending lawyer stated she was seeking bail "for a specific reason".

She said Harkin is due to resit an exam this week and failure to do so will mean he cannot return to his quantity surveying degree course at university next month.

It was claimed bail could be granted as Harkin resides some 10 miles from the alleged injured parties and would abide by any conditions and exclusions.

But District Judge Paul Copeland said: "This man has an appalling recent history of aggression and violence. An exam resit is the least of his worries.

"He is entitled to apply for bail, but having that acceded to by the court is a different matter. It would be totally inappropriate to grant bail. Risk has been exemplified by recent events."

Speaking directly to Harkin the judge added: "You are under supervision by a specific oversight agency due to concerns for the welfare of others, particularly your mother who has been assessed as at high risk from you. You are in no way an appropriate candidate for bail."

Harkin was remanded in custody to appear by video-link at Omagh Magistrates' Court later this month.

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