Belfast Telegraph

Woman accused of stabbing man 33 times weeps in court

A Co. Down woman wept in court on Tuesday as she was charged with trying to kill a man who was stabbed and slashed more than 30 times (stock photo)
A Co. Down woman wept in court on Tuesday as she was charged with trying to kill a man who was stabbed and slashed more than 30 times (stock photo)

By Paul Higgins

A Co Down woman charged with trying to kill a man who was stabbed and slashed more than 30 times wept as she appeared in court on Tuesday.

Police later seized a Samurai sword from Sara Jane Nelson's house in Windmill Gardens in Ballynahinch, however, during the hearing on Tuesday, police said they did not know if she had used the weapon.

Nelson cried continually throughout the hearing at Newtownards Magistrates Court where she was charged with the attempted murder of Stephen Brander on Sunday (November 17) and assaulting him on October 24.

The 22-year-old confirmed she understood the two charges against her while a police officer gave evidence that she could connect Nelson to the charges.

The officer told the court that when police arrived at the scene on Sunday evening, they were confronted with Nelson lying on top of her alleged victim, pressing towels onto his bloody wounds.

The court heard that Mr Brander, who is being treated at the Royal Victoria Hospital, had sustained 33 stab and slash wounds to his head, hand, buttock, leg, face and other areas.

The officer told the court Nelson claimed Mr Brander had arrived at her home with two men she did not know and demands for money were made from her before the two men allegedly attacked him outside the property.

Nelson further claimed she pulled Mr Brander inside “to protect him” but the officer outlined how police believe the attack happened inside the house as several rooms were blood-stained.

The constable revealed how clothing was retrieved from a washing machine that also had traces of blood in it and officers also seized a Samurai sword in its sheath.

Under cross examination from defence solicitor Chris Logue, the officer agreed that another man had been found in the living room who was “totally unresponsive” whether through alcohol or drugs.

Mr Logue submitted: “Police say they don't know if this 22-year-old girl used a Samurai sword on this man 33 times.

"There were three men in the house with extensive records. Some of them have been in hospital since, because they took so many drugs."

Refusing to free a weeping Nelson however, District Judge Mark Hamill said her bail application was “entirely premature".

Remanding her into custody to appear again at Downpatrick Magistrates Court on Thursday via videolink, the judge added it was an “evolving investigation".

"There was reference made to ongoing interviews, reference to washing machines. This is evolving, confusing.

"Get all the people together and make some sense of this, then make a bail application."

It is understood that a 26-year-old man has been released on police bail pending further enquiries while two other men, aged 40 and 20 respectively, remain in police custody.

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