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Victim in alleged domestic abuse attack ‘made to eat food off floor’

Dungannon Court

A case of domestic abuse has heard disturbing details of alleged coercive control and degrading abuse which in one instance involved the alleged victim being made to eat food off the floor which the accused filmed on his phone.

Barry Maguire, 39, from Castleview Crescent, Omagh is accused of unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on his partner, intentionally choking her, restricting breathing and flow of blood to her brain, threatening to kill her and engaging in a course of abusive behaviour causing physical or psychological harm.

Offending is alleged to have occurred on November 30.

Having appeared without a solicitor when asked if he was representing himself Maguire replied: “I suppose I am.”

A detective constable told Dungannon Magistrates’ Court the charges could be connected.

She explained the partner fled to a neighbour’s home in the aftermath of an alleged attack and from there was taken to hospital where she currently remains.

The neighbour meanwhile contacted police and described “signs of coercive control and degrading abuse”.

The detective constable added: “The injured party is covered in bruises all over her body at apparent different stages of healing. She is vulnerable and has no family support.”

Opposing bail the detective said: “There is a risk of further offending and witness interference. The injured party and defendant have only been in a relationship for six months and this is the second reported incident – both of which were reported by third parties.

“The injured party has never contacted police herself, instead seeking help from neighbours. She is unsure if she wants to make a statement of complaint because she says she still loves the defendant. We feel this places her at greater risk should he be released as they could resume the relationship and the abuse will continue.”

The court heard Maguire has a conviction for domestic abuse assault against a previous partner and a Restraining Order remains in place as a result.

Independent witnesses to the alleged offences are neighbours, therefore Maguire’s address was deemed unsuitable for release.

Efforts are underway to find alternative accommodation for the injured party on her release from hospital.

District Judge Francis Rafferty noted: “Amongst other things, the defendant indicated that the injured party bruises easily.”

The detective said this was discussed with the injured party who states she has no medical condition to this effect and “while she does bruise easily, it’s not without cause”.

The judge continued: “There is also a suggestion the defendant made the injured party eat food off the floor, which he denied, but when police advised they would be examining his phone, he then claimed to have forgotten and he may in fact have taken a photograph of her eating from the floor.”

Turning to Maguire, Judge Rafferty asked if he wished to tell the court why he should be granted bail.

Maguire relied: “I’ll be of no harm to anybody else. Nearly 90% of these claims are not correct. I would like the chance to get things together so I can get defended properly. I wasn’t really planning on defending myself. My plan was to get bail to sort out proper representation because I’m obviously not a solicitor and I’m not going to do a very good job.”

Judge Rafferty stated: “The court notes you say 90% of the claims are incorrect which means 10% of them – even on your suggestion – are correct. I’m of the view you are a significant risk to the injured party who must be protected. There is also a risk of interference with the investigation and for those reasons I am remanding you in custody. Bail is refused.”

Maguire will appear again by video-link at Omagh Magistrates Court on December 19.

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