Northern Ireland news

Court hears motorist allegedly crushed man and woman against front of house after shovel attack

Details emerged as he was granted temporary release from custody for a hospital rehabilitation appointment

A MOTORIST allegedly crushed a man and woman against the front of a house after one of the victims struck him on the head with a shovel, a court has heard.

Joshua Dowd is charged with attempting to murder the pair by driving a car into them in north Belfast.

But a judge was told the 30-year-old-old bricklayer suffered a fractured skull and a bleed to the brain in an earlier attack at the scene.

Details emerged as he was granted temporary release from custody for a hospital rehabilitation appointment.

Dowd, of Summerhill Drive in Dunmurry, is accused of trying to kill the man and woman during an incident at Ashfield Gardens on August 7 last year.

He faces further counts of possessing an offensive weapon in public, aggravated burglary with intent to commit grievous bodily harm, criminal damage and aggravated vehicle taking.

All charges are denied.

Dowd allegedly arrived at the home of one of the victims in a Mazda SUV, smashed several windows with a brick, retrieved a hockey stick from the vehicle and followed both of them inside.

He was forced out of the property and got back into the car after being struck on the head, according to police.

At Belfast Magistrates' Court, a detective alleged: "The two injured parties left the address and he drove at them, crushing them against a wall with the vehicle and causing major injuries (before) leaving the scene".

Both alleged victims sustained several broken bones, required surgery and spent lengthy periods in hospital.

Defence solicitor Owen Beattie contended that neither of them are cooperating with investigators. He also claimed the other man inflicted serious injuries on Dowd.

"The defendant accepts he was at the property, but he was attacked with a shovel which resulted in a skull fracture and a bleed to the brain," the lawyer submitted.

Mr Beattie disclosed that he had been instructed to lodge a complaint with the Police Ombudsman over the handling of the alleged assault on his client.

Dowd continues to suffer from blurred vision, deteriorating speech and other cognitive issues, the court heard.

District Judge George Conner adjourned his full bail application until forensic test results are obtained.

But he granted Dowd a one-day compassionate release to attend a rehabilitation session next week.

Mr Conner ordered: "He is to travel directly to the hospital and return directly (to custody)."

Northern Ireland news