Double stab accused refused bail

Judge's court wig and hammer or gavel
Judge's court wig and hammer or gavel

A Lurgan father of one accused of stabbing two men in Lurgan last July has been refused bail by a Crown Court judge.

Damien James McMahon, 29 and from Brookvale Walk in Lurgan, faces a total of seven charges arising from an alleged incident in the town last summer.

Amongst the charges he faces are attempted murder and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

McMahon is due to be arraigned on the charges in September, and earlier on Thursday he applied for bail at Belfast Crown Court.

Outlining the Crown case against McMahon, prosecutor Joseph Murphy said police were called to a stabbing incident in the Brookvale Walk area of Lurgan on the afternoon of 27 July, 2013.

When officers arrived, they noticed a large crowd had gathered outside McMahon’s house and that one man was being treated in an ambulance for injuries to his neck.

Initial reports indicated that a man covered in blood was observed fleeing the scene, and at this stage police didn’t know whether he was an injured party or a suspect.

Mr Murphy said a member of the public at the scene identified this man as McMahon, who was subsequently located a short distance away at his father’s house.

His clothes were heavily bloodstained and he was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

McMahon was placed in a forensic suit and after he was cautioned, he told police that he “stabbed them both in the neck”.

Officers subsequently discovered a second man had been treated at Craigavon Area Hospital for stab wounds.

Belfast Crown Court heard a search was carried out at McMahon’s home, and that cannabis and Diazepam were found.

Also located at the house was a blood-stained kitchen knife and when it was forensically examined, one of the injured men’s DNA was found on it.

Blood from one of the injured parties was also found on a potato peeler in the house.

Mr Murphy revealed that during detention in the police cell, McMahon “became aggressive towards custody staff” and he also urinated and defecated in the cell on three separate occasions. McMahon wasn’t deemed fit to be interviewed until the day after his arrest.

Both injured parties were later interviewed about the incident, and while one refused to name McMahon as his attacker as he said he wasn’t a tout, the other more seriously injured man said his attacker wasn’t McMahon.

Both injured men, the court heard, have substantial criminal records.

The prosecutor told Judge Patrick Kinney that the Crown was objecting to bail on the grounds there was a risk that McMahon would commit further offending, and that he would not abide by bail conditions.

Mr Murphy said that whilst in custody, McMahon has assaulted several members of staff - including burning a prison officer with hot liquid.

He also said that on a previous occasion, he had breached bail conditions.

Mr Murphy said that after being granted compassionate bail to attend the birth of his child, a ward sister reported that McMahon was abusive and aggressive to staff during the birth.

The midwife left in tears and later said it was the worst delivery she had been through.

Defence barrister Paddy Taggart acknowledged that his client’s behaviour whilst in prison “is not to be commended” adding “a lot of his problems are brought on by the use of drugs.”

Mr Taggart told the court that his client’s mother was a counsellor and asked that McMahon be released on bail to live with her in Strabane, which would enable him to seek treatment for his issues in Londonderry.

The barrister said neither of the two injured men had identified McMahon as their attacker, and that “the only direct evidence against him was his own admissions”, whilst pointing out his client was deemed unfit for interview until the day after his arrest.

He also spoke of McMahon’s “very difficult background” which included two relatives being killed in ‘the troubles’, and revealed that he has passed several drug tests carried out in prison over the past six months.

Judge Kinney said that after “carefully considering” submissions from both the Crown and the defence, he was refusing an application to release McMahon on bail on the grounds he would commit further offences and would not abide by the bail conditions.