Northern Ireland news

Man's thumb almost severed with Stanley Knife during alleged 'drug deal gone wrong' in north Belfast

Laganside courthouse in Belfast

A MAN'S thumb was almost completely severed with a Stanley Knife during an alleged "drug deal gone wrong" in north Belfast, a court has heard.

The victim was also attacked with a knuckle duster outside shops on the Whitewell Road last month, police claimed.

Details emerged as one of the two men accused of targeting him was remanded into custody.

Derek Armstrong (33) of Olympia Drive in the city, denies charges of attempted robbery, possessing a bladed article, and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Belfast Magistrates'Court heard a co-defendant allegedly called the injured party over to him and demanded money at the shops on July 27.

A PSNI officer said: "As he did so he swiped the victim with a Stanley Knife and cut his hand, almost severing the thumb."

It was claimed that when the injured party jumped back Armstrong came out of the bushes and attacked him from behind with a knuckle duster.

The victim managed to escape by jumping over a nearby fence.

CCTV footage viewed by police showed two suspects in a convenience store at the scene and getting into a car driven by a woman.

Officers located the vehicle in the Newtownabbey area a short time later, detained the co-defendant and recovered a Stanley Knife.

Forensic examinations of the seized car revealed suspected blood on the door handles, the court heard on Thursday.

Armstrong was arrested earlier this week as part of the ongoing investigation.

Defence solicitor Ciaran Toner argued that his client had not been in the car when it was stopped, and challenged the strength of identification evidence.

District Judge Anne Marshall was told the charges were premature because tests on the blood could have excluded him.

Mr Toner added: "The co-accused is someone who is well known to police, gave an account and said he was there and that this was a drug deal gone wrong."

Armstrong was refused bail, however, based on the risk of potential further offences.

He was remanded into custody until September 1.

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