For trial on attempted murder

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A Polish man who allegedly bludgeoned his partner with a pick axe handle was ordered to stand trial for attempted murder.

Appearing in the dock of Lisburn Magistrates Court on Monday, 55-year-old Henryk Sylwester Nowak was charged with trying to kill his then partner Maria Mota on 21 September and making a threat to kill her eight days before the alleged attack.

Although no facts of the case were opened during the Preliminary Enquiry, a prosecuting lawyer submitted there was a Prima Facie case against Nowak “based on the papers before the court.”

Previous courts have heard allegations that Nowak stabbed himself in the neck and chest moments after the alleged attack.

The couple were working at the home of a thoracic surgeon on the Old Ballinderry Road, Nowak as a gardener and Ms Mota as a house keeper when the incident happened the court heard.

A police officer described how the surgeon was working with his bees when he “heard a cry from the garden” and when he went to investigate, saw Ms Mota lying face down, unconscious and apparently choking having bitten her tongue.

After helping her, the officer said the surgeon saw the defendant running to the garage of the property where he was “making a jutting motion with his hands” as he stabbed himself in the neck and chest with a kitchen knife.

During police interviews Nowak, from Garvaghy Park in Portadown, said he couldn’t remember the incident or answered questions with “no comment.”

District Judge Rosie Watters remanded him to appear at Craigavon Crown Court on 21 May for arraignment.