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Woman attacked by two ex-partners in Co Down home invasion, court told

Belfast High Court.

A woman was allegedly beaten with a curtain pole by two ex-partners as part of an "invasion" into her home, the High Court has heard.

She sustained a fractured cheekbone during an attack which left the house in Saintfield, Co Down, in a state of disarray, prosecutors said.

It was claimed that intruders kicked open the front door, targeted the woman and also assaulted a man inside with her.

Details emerged as bail was granted to one of the men accused of forcing their way into the Queen's Park property on September 16 last year.

Simon Johnston, of New Line in Saintfield, is charged with burglary inflicting grievous bodily harm, possession of an offensive weapon, criminal damage, and stealing a mobile phone and £20 in cash.

A Crown lawyer said police called to the scene found the front door lying in the hallway and an upstairs bedroom door hanging by the hinges.

Fresh blood was discovered on the floor, walls, a bedside cabinet and a wooden pole broken in two.

The woman claimed the attack occurred after she returned home with her friend.

"She stated that Simon Johnston and a co-defendant, both ex-partners of hers, had forced entry into the property by kicking open the front door and told (the other man) to leave," the prosecutor submitted.

"He left, but on his way out he was hit by one of the suspects."

It was alleged that the intruders then grabbed curtain poles and began assaulting her.

She sustained the facial fracture, cuts, bruising and needed seven staples for a laceration to her head, the court heard.

Sean Doherty, defending, insisted Johnston had "no culpable involvement" in the incident.

Counsel said his client had a brief romantic relationship with the woman years ago and doesn't know the male complainant.

Mr Doherty added that Johnston had played the role of "peacemaker".

Seeking bail, he revealed that the accused wanted out to spend as much time as possible with his terminally ill son.

Referring to the circumstances, Judge Brian Sherrard said:  "These are very serious offences which involve an alleged home invasion."

But he ruled that Johnston is to be released on strict conditions, including a curfew and ban on any contact with the alleged victims.

Belfast Telegraph