Northern Ireland news

Two men in court accused of Newtownabbey assault

The men were granted bail on strict conditions

TWO men have appeared in court accused of carrying out an assault while armed with a wooden pole and pick axe handle.

Gary Longridge (44) and William Thomas Cochrane (39) allegedly attacked a man after a meeting was arranged at a pub on the outskirts of north Belfast.

They were arrested by police investigating the incident near the Cloughfern Roundabout, in the Doagh Road area of Newtownabbey, early on Sunday morning.

The alleged victim was also detained a short time later.

Longridge, of Knockenagh Walk, and Cochrane, from Kings Avenue - both in Newtownabbey - are jointly charged with common assault and possessing an offensive weapon in public.

Cochrane faces a further count of threats to kill.

At Belfast Magistrates' Court a detective claimed police intervened before more serious harm was caused to the third man.

Opposing bail, he said at least two potential witnesses are still to be interviewed.

"The injured party and the defendants all know each other and live close by," the detective added.

Longridge and Cochrane were granted bail on strict conditions, including a ban on entering the Rathcoole estate or contacting the alleged victim.

District Judge Peter Magill also prohibited both defendants from entering a pub on the Doagh Road after being told it is believed to have been the "selected meeting place".

He told them: "I have to make sure, as far as I possibly can, there's no repetition of this and it doesn't kick off again."

Both accused, who must live at addresses approved by police, are due back in court in four weeks' time.

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