Northern Ireland news

Teenagers accused of Bangor attack on girl are under potential paramilitary threat, court hears

Cora Campbell, who appeared in court at Downpatrick Magistrates Court charged in connection with the assault of a young girl on Bangor marina in Co Down at the weekend.

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Three teenagers accused of a prolonged attack on a girl which was filmed and then posted online are under potential paramilitary threat, the High Court heard today.

Prosecutors revealed the warning about possible consequences of any return to Bangor, Co Down where the 16-year-old alleged victim was repeatedly punched, kicked and had her head banged off the ground.

New details emerged as bail was granted to one of those charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent at the seaside town's marina last Friday.

Counsel for 18-year-old Cora Campbell, of English Street in Downpatrick, claimed she became involved in a fight with the injured party after being subjected to derogatory comments on Facebook.

"Both were giving as good as they got, and then it became more one-sided," Conor O'Kane argued.

"She (Campbell) bitterly regrets what she did, and she's ashamed of what she did."

A 17-year-old boy and another girl aged 16 facing the same charge cannot be identified because of their age.

The attack was carried out in broad daylight in Bangor 

The victim was subjected to a sustained and vicious assault after being deliberately lured to the scene, according to the prosecution.

It was claimed that Campbell grabbed her by the hair and started punching her after asking: "Do you want to go now, big girl?"

She was also allegedly held down while the male accused poured alcohol over her face, leaving her fearing she was choking.

A Crown lawyer said she got to her feet, was dragged back down and then assaulted again by having her head dunked in a fountain as she struggled to breath.

Footage of the incident was later shared on Facebook.

Police claim the 16-year-old accused had arranged for the girl to come to Bangor pier, and that Campbell was the lead assailant.

During interviews the pair made admissions about their involvement but denied the gravity or intent to injure, a judge was told.

Opposing bail applications mounted by the two females, prosecution counsel contented both are subject to a threat from an unspecified paramilitary organisation.

She said: "Individuals have indicated that should any of the defendants in this case be released from custody and return to the Bangor area some action (will be taken)."

The 16-year-old girl's bid to be released from custody was adjourned to next week.

But Campbell's barrister argued that the public mood and any threats were being directed against her without having heard the full story.

Describing his client as an "intelligent, articulate woman", Mr O'Kane said she had turned her life around in the past year.

Counsel also stressed she has not admitted banging the alleged victim's head off the ground.

Campbell was said to have acted after "a red mist descended", the court heard.

Mr O'Kane claimed if anyone was lured to the scene it had been Campbell by a group from the Bangor area.

Referring to alleged Facebook postings by the injured party, he submitted that they formed part of the background to events at the marina.

"This was a fight between two equals, and then my client got the better of it," he said.

"She didn't start the fight, she ended it."

Granting bail for Campbell to live at an address in Belfast, Mr Justice McCloskey banned her from entering Bangor and any other areas covered by the potential threat.

He also ordered her to have no contact with the alleged victim or any co-accused, abide by a curfew and report to police three times a week.

Imposing a prohibition on accessing social media or using mobile phones, the judge added: "She needs a sterile zone for a period at least." 

 

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