Northern Ireland news

Woman who tried to flee burglars was 'attacked with stun gun until she nearly passed out'

Laganside Court in Belfast

A woman who tried to escape from burglars had a stun gun fired at her until she nearly passed out, a court heard yesterday.

She was attacked and tied up with a second female during the raid on the home in south Belfast where nearly £2,000 was stolen.

Police claimed a 23-year-old man accused of the "vicious" break-in is a gambling addict who targeted the property on Ashley Avenue because a gaming arcade was nearby.

Romanian national Marian-Cristian Filip faces charges of aggravated burglary, grievous bodily harm with intent, threats to kill, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, possessing a prohibited weapon, having a knife with intent to commit burglary, and criminal damage.

Three men are believed to have forced their way into the property on December 11 last year.

Filip, with an address at Agincourt Avenue in Belfast, was later arrested and charged following alleged police identification.

Opposing his application for bail, a detective contended: "This was a vicious attack."

One of the victims was grabbed and trailed upstairs, breaking a strap on her clothing, after the intruders entered.

"She was kicked around and when she tried to make her escape she was Tasered until she nearly passed out," the detective said.

The two women, aged 38 and 40, were then tied together with a belt.

District Judge George Conner was also told of a potential motive for Filip's alleged involvement.

"We believe he's addicted to gambling, (which is) why this offence took place," the detective added.

"Nearly £2,000 in cash was stolen, and he uses a nearby gambling place on the Lisburn Road."

Filip had been out on bail, but returned to custody after allegedly damaging an electronic monitoring tag in April.

Concerns were also raised that he may try to move back to Romania permanently if released again.

Defence counsel argued that DNA tests and a witness identification process both failed to connect Filip to the burglary.

"The evidence against the accused is extraordinarily weak," the barrister insisted.

Refusing bail, however, Mr Conner ordered Filip to appear again by video-link on June 25.

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Northern Ireland news