Two in court after Scarva Walk incident

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A man accused of attempted murder allegedly kicked his unconscious victim’s head “like a footballer taking a free kick,” a court heard yesterday (Monday).

Newry Magistrates Court also heard claims that 22-year-old Michael Loughlin kicked Brendan McGivern with such ferocity that “he fell back and injured his own wrist” and that when he was arrested he told police, “I hope Brendan McGivern dies.”

Loughlin, from Iveagh Close in Banbridge, was charged with the attempted murder of Mr McGivern, assaulting his brother Anthony McGivern, causing criminal damage to a police vehicle, stealing two bottles of Buckfast from Winemark, assaulting police and using disorderly behaviour, all alleged to have occurred on 21 July.

Alongside him in the dock was 20-year-old Shea Leonard, from Willow Avenue, also in Banbridge, who was accused of causing Brendan McGivern grievous bodily harm with intent and stealing two bottles of Buckfast.

Loughlin, who confirmed he understood the raft of charges against him, did not apply for bail, so he was remanded into custody to appear again on 17 August via videolink.

Leonard did apply for bail but a detective constable, who said he believed he could connect the pair to their respective offences, gave evidence that police objected to his release amid fears that he would interfere with witnesses or reoffend.

The charges arise following a serious assault close to Mr McGivern’s home in the Scarva Walk area of Banbridge on Friday afternoon (21 July) and the officer described how police and ambulance crews were called to the scene at around 4pm over reports of three men fighting.

When officers arrived at the scene, Mr McGivern was “lying in a pool of blood and unconscious” said the officer.

He told the court the pair were allegedly involved in the theft of two bottles of Buckfast from Winemark an hour later, but that the bottle dropped and smashed as they left the store.

Shortly before 4pm Anthony McGivern, the brother of the victim was driving his white van in the area of Anderson Street when he noticed Loughlin and Leonard so he stopped to speak to them but Loughlin allegedly reached in through the window and started punching him.

It was as he drove off that his brother arrived and they “directed their anger towards Brendan” .

He walked away towards his flat but they followed him and the detective claimed that as he reached the top of the stairs beside his flat, Laughlin “attempted to throw Brendan over a railing from the first floor balcony.

He punched, kicked and jumped on his victim’s head, the officer claimed, adding that the incident was captured on cctv.

Leonard, the court heard, is seen running towards Mr McGivern on the ground and can be seen aiming seven kicks at the victim.

Having gotten to his feet, Loughlin allegedly starts to jump up and down on Mr McGivern in what the officer described as a “brutal attack” and which left Loughlin’s hands and clothes “saturated in blood.”

In one final clip, the officer described how Loughlin had walked away but ‘he turns and runs at McGivern lying on the ground and kicks him in the head, similar to a footballer taking a free kick.’

Arrested at the scene, Loughlin allegedly lashed out at the officer and then spat blood over the inside of the police vehicle.

District Judge Eamon King said he shared police concerns over the risks of Leonard being freed.

He was also remanded into custody and will appear again on the same date as Loughlin.