Mother 'woke to find burglar with knife making stabbing gestures at her baby'

The high court in Belfast

A MOTHER who allegedly woke to discover a knife-wielding burglar making stabbing gestures at her baby son likened it to a scene from a horror movie, the High Court heard today.

The woman told police she pleaded on her hands and knees with the night-time intruder, fearing he was going to kill the six-month-old child.

Details emerged as two Belfast men accused of breaking into the family home at Stranmillis Gardens in the south of the city last week were refused bail.

Seamus Rooney (30) of Kinnaird Terrace, and 25-year-old Tyrone Boyle, of Victoria Parade, are jointly charged with aggravated burglary and possessing an offensive weapon, namely a knife.

Rooney faces further counts of criminal damage to a PSNI vehicle and assault on police.

The woman, her partner and their infant son share a downstairs bedroom in the house targeted in the early hours of November 23.

Crown lawyer Conor Maguire said she woke to find two men in their room.

Boyle was standing over the baby's cot and pointing a knife at him, while Rooney was also armed with a blade and positioned close to the child's father, according to the prosecutor.

Mr Maguire continued: "(The woman) described to police that Boyle was moving the knife in a stabbing motion towards her baby.

"She said it was like something out of a horror movie, and that this action was indicated a number of times, purporting to stab the child."

He told the court her partner was also shouting for the men to leave.

The couple, in their twenties, also share the home with the woman's mother and seven-year-old brother.

Mrs Justice Keegan was told the older woman came downstairs and wrestled with one of the intruders, grabbing the knife before forcing him out of the house.

Boyle and Rooney were arrested a short time later on the nearby Stranmillis Road.

A laptop belonging to one of the victims and nearly £400 in cash allegedly stolen from the property was recovered.

Police had to take Rooney to hospital following his detention due to his level of drugs intoxication, Mr Maguire disclosed.

The prosecutor claimed: "During this time he was aggressive to staff and assaulted a female officer by spitting in her face. He also hit her in the left eye."

The seven-year-old boy refused to return to the house for a number of nights, and is still receiving counselling in school.

Rooney told police he thought he had been at the home of Boyle's girlfriend, remained outside until he heard arguing and then entered briefly and been asked by his co-accused to take the laptop.

He denied ever brandishing a knife.

His barrister, Barry Gibson, acknowledged the alleged circumstances were "as bad a case at the court is going to have to determine".

But he advanced a so-called cut-throat defence where his client blamed Boyle for carrying out the burglary after plying him with drugs beforehand.

Counsel for Boyle, Michael Boyd, put forward a different defence that his client was simply never at the house targeted.

But denying bail to both accused, Mrs Justice Keegan ruled: "I don't consider that I could manage the risk in the community."

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