Northern Ireland news

Girl (15) left with severed artery after Lurgan fight

A 14-year-old appeared before Lisburn Magistrates Court yesterday
Staff Reporter

A 15-YEAR-OLD girl whose carotid artery was severed in an allegedly pre-arranged "fair dig" has been left with "life-changing injuries", a court has heard.

Standing at the side of the dock at Lisburn Magistrates Court yesterday, a 14-year-old girl, who cannot be identified because of her age, was charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent and possessing a weapon, namely a knife, at Dean's Walk, Lurgan on April 19.

Giving evidence, a detective constable said he believed he could connect the teenager to the charges and despite her young age, police were objecting to bail amid fears she would re-offend or interfere with witnesses.

He told the court police received a 999 call at around 9pm on Good Friday "that a girl had been stabbed in the neck with blood everywhere....and the reporting person named the defendant as the person responsible".

While the victim was rushed to hospital, initially Craigavon Area Hospital before being transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital, "due to her deteriorating condition", the defendant was "collected by her mother following a phone call".

The officer claimed during the call, the 14-year-old said "she had stabbed the victim".

The officer said the defendant appeared at Lurgan PSNI station a short time later and "had changed her clothes since the incident", adding that "blood stained clothing was seized from her mother's car", along with her mobile phone.

The police constable said the victim had "suffered life-changing injuries, including nerve damage to her right eye and she's having trouble breathing".

Due to her condition, police been unable to record a formal statement from her but her phone was examined by detectives.

From the examination of the phones, he said there were social media messages between the defendant and alleged victim "that the meeting was pre-arranged for a fight".

While he claimed there had been messages "back and forward" between the girls since an apparent "verbal exchange" in Lurgan town centre that afternoon, the teenager's solicitor said she "doesn't accept" there had been messages sent.

Interviewed by police, the detective said the 14-year-old defendant "admitted that she had a knife while this fight took place" but claimed she had it "concealed up her sleeve and she accidentally caused the injury to her neck".

Under cross examination from the schoolgirl's solicitor, the officer agreed she had given a "full account" to police and claimed she had "found the knife" on the ground.

Her solicitor said his client and a friend "went to meet this individual when they became aware of a large group of around 40" who then chased them and that was when she found the weapon and secreted up her sleeve.

The officer said that is "contradicted by some witnesses who say it was held in her hand" although he agreed those witnesses were "friends of the injured party".

The lawyer submitted she could be freed on bail with "stringent conditions" to a bail address in Portadown, but the officer said "police still have concerns" .

District Judge Rosie Watters said "the reality is that this other girl nearly died".

She said her "prime consideration" was protecting the public and potential witnesses adding "it's with regret that I have to say that I'm remanding her into custody".

The 14-year-old will appear via video-link at Craigavon Magistrates Court on Friday.

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