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Man violently assaulted sister saying she would end up like Malcolm McKeown, court hears

Armagh Magistrates Court

A man accused of assaulting his sister and threatening to kill her, calling her a ‘supergrass’ due to previous allegations, has been denied bail.

Court heard the 33-year-old was a Category 3 high-risk offender with previous offences which include attacking his ex-partner with a sword and assaulting a pregnant woman.

Thomas Pearce, of Ventry Lane in Belfast, appeared for a bail application on alleged offences of common assault, threats to kill and breaching a Violent Offences Prevention Order at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that on October 13, police received a report that the defendant was not residing at the Edward Street Hostel in Portadown, which was one of the conditions of his Violent Offences Prevention Order (VOPO).

They were informed that the breach occurred when Pearce left the property at 11.30pm on October 12.

On October 13, at 11.15pm, police were contacted by the defendant’s sister who claimed he was at her property.

She alleged that Pearce had assaulted her by grabbing her hair, pulling her to the ground and slapping her on the head.

The alleged injured party also claimed that the defendant had said she would end up like Malcolm McKeown, who was recently murdered in Waringstown.

Prosecution stated: “Bail is objected to because it is feared he will interfere with witnesses. It is important to protect the injured party and witnesses, which the defendant is aware of the ID of.

“There is also risk of further offences. The defendant is a Category 3 high-risk offender who has breached his VOPO on a number of occasions.”

It was outlined these included; being found intoxicated in public, failing to provide a breath sample, being in a relationship without informing his officer, no staying at his address and having contact with a person under the age of 18.

Pearce had 10 previous breaches of court orders, along with eight serious offences including; attacking an ex-partner with a sword and assaulting a pregnant woman.

Defence counsel stated: “His sister recorded a similar case against this defendant, which she later came to our office to lodge a withdrawal statement.

“It is clear from the bodyworn evidence that she was intoxicated and incoherent. Mr Pearce accepts leaving the hostel because he could not take the drug taking.

“He was at large for two days and attended at Banbridge station with me where he waited for two hours to be seen.

“They had both been drinking that night and he had been invited by her to he home. An address in Newtownards has been put forward”.

A police constable told the court: “We believed a child resides at that address as of six to nine months ago. We believe Mr Pearce consumed alcohol, which he doesn’t handle well and he takes cocaine to level out.

“He couldn’t get cocaine, he accused his sister of being a supergrass and a tout regarding the previous allegation before he assaulted her.

“There were signs of a disturbance at the property; the injured party was hysterical and appeared under the influence although this would have to be confirmed by the officers who were there.”

The constable said that he had gone over board in assisting the defendant, from helping him set up a bank account, to registering him with a doctor to get him moving in the right direction.

Defence counsel commented: “We will just let the High Court decide”.

District Judge Paul Copeland stated: “I feel it is totally inappropriate that this man is permitted on bail.”

Bail was refused, Pearce was remanded in custody to appear before Banbridge Magistrates’ – sitting at Newry – on November 7 via videolink.

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