Northern Ireland news

Co Down woman (22) charged with trying to kill a man who was stabbed and slashed more than 30 times

A Co Down woman has been charged with trying to kill a man who was stabbed and slashed more than 30 times.

Sara Jane Nelson (22) wept throughout a hearing at Newtownards Magistrates Court where she was charged with the attempted murder of Stephen Brander on Sunday and assaulting him on October 24 this year.

Nelson, from Windmill Gardens in Ballynahinch, confirmed she understood the two charges against her while a police officer gave evidence that she could connect her to them.

She told the court that when police arrived at the scene on Sunday evening, they were confronted with Nelson lying on top of her alleged victim, pressing towels onto his bloody wounds.

Mr Brander, who is being treated at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital, had suffered 33 stab and slash wounds to his head, hand, buttock, leg, face and anus.

The officer told the court that Nelson claimed Mr Brander had arrived at her home with two

men she did not know and demanded money from her before the two men allegedly attacked the victim outside the property.

Nelson claimed she pulled Mr Brander inside “to protect him”, but the officer said police believe the attack happened inside the house as several rooms were blood-stained.

The constable said clothing was retrieved from a washing machine that also had traces of blood in it and officers also seized a samurai sword in its sheath.

Under cross-examination from defence solicitor Chris Logue, the officer agreed that another man had been found in the living room who was “totally unresponsive” whether through alcohol or drugs.

Mr Logue submitted: “Police say they don't know if this 22-year-old girl used a samurai sword on this man 33 times.

"There were three men in the house with extensive records. Some of them have been in hospital since, because they took so many drugs."

District Judge Mark Hamill said Nelson's bail application was “entirely premature.”

Remanding her into custody to appear again at Downpatrick Magistrates Court on Thursday via videolink, the judge said it was an “evolving investigation.”

"There was reference made to ongoing interviews, reference to washing machines. This is evolving, confusing.

"Get all the people together and make some sense of this, then make a bail application."

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