Belfast Telegraph

UDA Larne 'rampage': Man charged with attempted murder is refused bail

A man charged with attempted murder over a suspected UDA mob attack on a Co Antrim home must remain in custody, a High Court judge ruled today.

Steven Blackwood was refused bail over claims of his involvement in a vicious assault where the victim was beaten unconscious and allegedly left for dead.

A judge was also told a dedicated police team has been set up to investigate the onslaught of violence in Larne earlier this year.

Up to 100 masked and armed men went on the rampage, attacking two homes in the town on March 30. Twenty-nine people have been arrested so far.

Blackwood, 28, and from Moyard Gardens, Greenisland, denies charges of attempted murder, intimidation, criminal damage and rioting.

He is alleged to have been part of a 70-strong crowd who attacked a house at Knockdhu Park with hammers, swords and golf clubs.

A man inside was stabbed and beaten, suffering a punctured lung and broken legs.

During a previous hearing prosecutors claimed the crowd dispersed because they thought they had either killed him or left him for dead.

Opposing Blackwood's application for bail, Crown lawyer Kate McKay said new Chief Constable George Hamilton has already publicly blamed the UDA's south east Antrim unit for "orchestrating and carrying out" the attack.

"It's believed there were a number of previous incidents at this address involving (the victim) and/or his family," she added.

Although the injured man is originally from Portugal, police do not believe he was attacked because of his nationality.

Blackwood is allegedly linked by DNA on a balaclava later found in a bin.

But countering claims that his client may try to interfere with the investigation if released, defence counsel Dennis Boyd said: "The primary submission is that he is not involved in this offence and knows nothing about the witnesses."

Mr Boyd added: "The victims of this offence, as I understand it, have now moved."

Despite offering a £5,000 cash surety Blackwood was refused bail.

Mr Justice Stephens said: "There is a prima facie case of attempted murder of a vicious nature which totally undermined the safety and security of the individuals attacked."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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