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Alleged Co Tyrone intruder linked to "bad blood" between families, High Court hears

Michael O'Neill was granted bail at the High Court

A MOTHER and daughter were allegedly woken by a masked man carrying a knife as part of ongoing "bad blood" between families, the High Court heard yesterday.

Prosecutors said the woman tore off the disguise to reveal his identity after he arrived at their Co Tyrone home in the middle of the night.

Michael O'Neill faces charges of criminal damage, attempted criminal damage and possession of an offensive weapon with intent over the incident on March 18.

The 47-year-old, of North Close in Stewartstown, was granted bail but banned from entering the street where the alleged victims live.

A Crown lawyer said the mother and 13-year-old girl were woken by banging noises at the front door of their home at Hillhead in the village shortly before 3am.

The court heard the woman went downstairs and discovered a man wearing dark clothes, a hood and mask on the stairs to the property - apparently carrying a long, bladed weapon.

The court was told the woman challengd the man and pulled off his mask to reveal his face. Following a verbal altercation he is said to have fled leaving the hat and handle of the weapon behind him.

Police found O'Neill in bed, drunk at his own home later that morning, the court heard.

Opposing his bid to return to Stewartstown on bail, the Crown lawyer claimed: "There's bad blood between the applicant and injured party, and there's anti-social behaviour as well."

Defence counsel acknowledged the alleged offences formed part of a dispute between families.

As he granted bail, Mr Justice Colton described the incident as "rather ham-fisted".

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