An alleged domestic abuser was remanded into custody on Saturday after a judge heard he strangled his ex-partner until her ear bled and threatened to burn down her home.
Refusing to grant bail to 30-year-old Stephen Burns at Lisburn Magistrates Court, District Judge Amanda Henderson said she was concerned over alleged “recent and sinister” threats made to the woman if she proceed with the complaint.
Burns, from Warren Gardens in the city, appeared at court via videolink from police custody where he was charged with five offences allegedly committed between May 25 to 28 this year.
The offences are causing actual bodily harm, criminal damage to the woman’s phone, attempting to choke her with intent to cause GBH, threatening to kill her and threatening to damage or destroy her property.
A police constable said she believed she could connect Burns to each of the offences, adding that police had objections to bail due to concerns that he would commit further offences or interfere with the witnesses and her account.
“We fear for her safety,” said the officer who described how according to the police case, the pair were drinking on Monday when an argument over a dog and a TV became violent.
According to the alleged victim, Burns smashed her phone against the wall before “he grabbed her by the throat and began choking her.”
The officer said: “She felt that she couldn’t breathe and was about to pass out... she was in fear of him seriously harming her.”
She said the choking only ended “when he saw blood on the side of her head which she thinks had come from her ear.”
Four days later, Burns was back at her home and the pair had an argument about the previous argument, the court heard.
“During this argument he told her that if she contacted the police he would kill her and burn her out of the flat,” said the officer.
Defence counsel Joel Lindsay claimed it was the complainant’s father who contacted police and was “pushing” the matter and that other previous complaints by the woman had been withdrawn.
Submitting that Burns should be freed on bail with conditions, he argued “there’s a significant chance he will remain in custody for an extended period of time for a case that may never be.”
But District Judge Henderson described the alleged threat by Burns as “sinister” and added: “I think there’s a real risk of witness interference and reoffending and in that basis, I’m refusing bail.”
The case against Burns was adjourned to June 22.