Northern Ireland news

Man told mother 'he would shoot her' if she told police about suspected assault on partner, court told

Phillip Irwin is accused of launching an attack in Portavogie, Co Down

A man allegedly threatened to shoot his mother if she informed police about a suspected assault on her partner, the High Court heard today.

Phillip Irwin is accused of launching an attack at the couple's home in Portavogie, Co Down which left the other man with broken ribs.

Opposing Irwin's renewed bid for bail, prosecutors said he has been categorised among 33 highest-risk alleged offenders in Northern Ireland.

The 39-year-old, currently of no fixed abode, denies charges of causing grievous bodily harm, common assault and threats to kill.

Crown counsel claimed Irwin arrived in a new car at his mother's house in the village on May 7.

He had a shower, came downstairs and declared that he was heading out, the court heard.

But according to the prosecution a row broke out when his mother's partner suggested it would be foolish to drive because he may be under the influence of drink or drugs.

Irwin allegedly responded by punching the man, causing him to fall to the ground and strike his ribs against a kitchen worktop on the way down.

It was claimed the accused then hit his mother on the head before leaving the property.

"He told her he would shoot her if she phoned police," the prosecutor alleged.

Irwin is further charged with driving while disqualified, making off without paying for petrol, and breaching a Violent Offences Prevention Order (VOPO) over separate incidents on the same date.

During police interviews he claimed his mother and her partner inflicted each other's injuries in a vodka-fuelled row.

Mr Justice McAlinden was told police strongly object to the accused's release from custody.

He has been deemed by the authorities to be a category three suspected offender - the highest level within the arrangements.

"There are only 33 people deemed to be at this level in Northern Ireland, and only six are in the community," Crown counsel said.

She added: "The applicant's mother and her partner have both reported to police that they are terrified of him."

Defence barrister Barry Gibson was set to mount a fresh bid for bail based on delays in the case.

But proceedings were put on hold because the court currently has no jurisdiction to hear the application for legal reasons.

With the hearing adjourned to December 3, Mr Gibson confirmed: "The applicant will be eligible to apply for bail then."

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