Blackmail complaint against Lurgan man withdrawn

Courts
Courts

A Lurgan man accused of a blackmail raid on a Co Down home during which another alleged intruder was shot with a crossbow has been granted High Court bail.

Hugh Francis Boyce is to be released from custody after a judge was told yesterday (Wednesday) that the Co Down householder has withdrawn his complaint.

But Mr Justice Horner ordered the 25-year-old defendant to be excluded from the general Banbridge area.

Prosecutors claim he was the “main instigator” in the three-man break-in at Millar Park, Lawrencetown on July 11.

Boyce, of Watsonville, Lurgan, faces charges of blackmail, aggravated burglary with intent to commit grievous bodily harm, possessing an offensive weapon, namely a bottle, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, assisting offenders and obstructing police.

A judge was told police went to the house after receiving two separate calls – one about the intruders trying to get in and the other to report the crossbow shooting.

A man who lived there was initially arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

It was claimed, however, that Boyce and two others had forced their way in while armed with weapons, demanding money as part of a weekly protection campaign.

During a struggle the man who lived there fired a crossbow bolt into the stomach of one of the other suspected intruders, the court heard.

His injuries are not believed to be life threatening.

Boyce then allegedly head-butted him, seized the weapon for disposal and gave orders that no-one was to contact police.

Audio and video recordings on the homeowner’s phone back his version of events, the prosecution contended.

However, Crown lawyer Kate McKay revealed yesterday that he has now made a statement withdrawing his complaint.

In it, he set out how he has known the three accused for years and has come under no pressure to end his claims.

Acknowledging the new position, Mr Justice Horner ruled that Boyce could be granted bail.

The judge ordered him to abide by a curfew, electronic monitoring and report to police daily.

He also told the accused: “You will be excluded from the Banbridge area and given a map to show where you can and cannot go.”