Northern Ireland

Alleged burglar 'carried meat cleaver for protection'

The high court in Belfast
The high court in Belfast

An alleged burglar accused of attacking a man in his home with a meat cleaver carried such a blade for protection, the High Court heard today.

Glenn Harwood faces charges linked to a break-in at Glenrosa Street in north Belfast where the victim sustained a broken elbow and other wounds.

The 39-year-old defendant, of Ballysillan Crescent in the city, was refused compassionate bail to attend his brother's wedding.

Prosecutors said the homeowner identified Harwood as having carried out the attack on May 2.

It was claimed that the intruder launched his assault with a meat cleaver produced from a shopping bag.

Police found a similar type of blade during searches of Harwood's address, the court was told.

Crown lawyer Natalie Pinkerton confirmed blood on it has been forensically linked to the victim.

"During interviews the applicant indicated that he did carry a meat cleaver in a Lidl bag, and that people in the area knew this was for protection,"she said.

Harwood is charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and aggravated burglary involving the use of a weapon.

Defence counsel Michael Boyd argued that the complainant described being hit with a blunt object inside a bag, without specifically referring to it as a meat cleaver.

His client strenuously denies any involvement, the barrister stressed.

Harwood was seeking temporary release from custody to attend the wedding this weekend.

But denying the application, Mr Justice Horner cited the risk of flight and interference with witnesses.

The judge added: "On the basis of what I have been told by the prosecution there's a strong prima facie case against this man."