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Man (27) in court charged with attempted murder

Stephen McFarlane
Staff Reporter

AN alleged would-be killer who sparked a manhunt has been remanded into custody accused of attempted murder.

Standing in the dock of Belfast Magistrates Court on Saturday, Stephen David John McFarlane (27) spoke only to confirm that he understood the ten charges against him.

McFarlane, from Glenville Park in Newtownabbey, is charged with attempting to murder Natasha Lowry, breaking into her home on the Ashgrove Road in Neetownabbey "with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm" and breaching a court imposed non-molestation order on January 13.

He is further charged that on the following day, he stole two sets of number plates, made off without paying for £40.01 of fuel and that on January 15, he drove dangerously on the Doagh Road in Newtownabbey and then failed to stop, remain or report an accident where damage was caused.

The charges arise after McFarlane launched a knife attack on mother-of-two, 26-year-old Ms Lowry, inflicting a total of 27 stab wounds. She remains in hospital where her condition is described as stable.

That alleged attack sparked a nationwide manhunt as police searched for McFarlane, leading officers to take the unusual step of releasing his name and car details as they sought to track him down.

It is during that manhunt that McFarlane is alleged have stolen the two sets of number plates and the fuel for his white Audi car.

The hunt ended in a high speed pursuit which stretched from the Doagh Road in Newtownabbey and culminated in Welland Street, a cul-de-sac close to the junction of the Newtownards and Holywood roads.

The suspect, who witnesses described as being injured and covered in blood, was taken by ambulance with a police escort to the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald.

District Judge Bernie Kelly remanded McFarlane into custody to appear again on February 19 via videolink.

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