Northern Ireland news

Man accused attacking now-deceased partner refused bail

An application to release John Armour was made, and refused, at Belfast Crown Court

A BELFAST man accused of attacking his now-deceased partner has been refused bail.

An application to release John Armour was made, and refused, at Belfast Crown Court.

The 32-year old, from Victoria Street in the city, is facing charges of attacking his then-partner on December 8, 2021 and making threats to kill her. He has also been charged with assaulting and resisting police during the same incident.

Opposing Armour's release, Crown barrister David Russell told Judge Geoffrey Miller QC that bail was being sought due to a change of circumstances.

This change is that the woman Armour is accused of attacking died on July 17. Her death is not connected to Armour and is unrelated to any matters before the court.

Mr Russell said that despite the threat Armour posed to the woman no longer being a cause for concern, the Crown was still objecting to bail as there is "clearly a wider issue of public protection".

The prosecutor said the December 2021 charges faced by Armour involved allegations of "significant violence being used" including choking his partner until she lost consciousness. He is also alleged to have spat twice in the face of a police officer during his arrest which Mr Russell branded a "serious offence".

Telling Judge Miller that Armour has a "significant criminal record for violence", Mr Russell said the alleged offences were committed whilst the accused was on bail for attacking the same woman.

He added: "Whilst I recognise a significant change in the case, there are, from the Crown's point of view, significant concerns about public protection arising from this applicant's behaviour in the past."

Defence barrister Michael Boyd said the Crown case was "fully accepted", as were concerns about Armour's criminal record.

Reiterating the change on circumstances, Mr Boyd said any potential concerns about re-offending or risks poses to the injured party no longer exist "as a result of her very tragic passing."

Urging the granting of bail, Mr Boyd said if released Armour would adhere to a "strict regime of conditions".

Refusing the request, Judge Miller said that whilst the level of threat against the injured party has now been removed, there were "much wider concerns" regarding violence and re-offending.

Noting Armour has an "extensive record of violence" and a history of failing to comply with court orders, Judge Miller said: "I consider he poses a significant risk of further offending. I'm not, therefore, prepared to grant bail."

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