Northern Ireland

Patrick Doherty 'tried to suffocate partner' in Belleeks

Newry courthouse
Image caption The judge at Newry Magistrates' Court described the alleged attack on Rosemary Travers, which was partially recorded in a 999 emergency call, as a "degrading and terrifying assault"

A man tried to kill his partner by suffocating her with a plastic bag, a quilt and duct tape in front of his elderly mother, a court has been told.

Patrick Doherty appeared before Newry Magistrates' Court charged with the attempted murder of Rosemary Travers.

It was alleged the 44-year-old from Newry Road, Belleeks, County Armagh, attacked Ms Travers at his mother's home in Belleeks at the weekend.

The court heard part of the alleged assault was recorded during a 999 call.

Mr Doherty is also accused of assault, causing actual bodily harm, trying to inflict grievous bodily harm, threatening to kill Ms Travers and possessing a knife with intent to kill her.

'Terrifying assault'

The court heard allegations that during the alleged attack in the early hours of Sunday morning, Mr Doherty held a knife to Ms Travers throat and called on his friend to "get the bin bags".

A detective constable told the court police were first called to a fight on the Chancellors Road, Newry, when a member of the public reported two men attacking a woman, grabbing her by the hair and punching her to the ground.

By the time police arrived at the scene, the victim had already left in a taxi but officers spoke to Mr Doherty and his friend before letting them leave.

The officer added that a short time later, Ms Travers was subjected to a terrifying assault at the home of Mr Doherty's 80-year-old mother on Newry Road, Belleeks, some of which was recorded on a 999 call two hours after the initial call-out.

Ms Travers made a statement to police alleging that Mr Doherty insulted her before punching her and kicking her in the head.

The court heard his mother intervened, allowing the alleged victim to flee to the bathroom where she locked the door.

However, Mr Doherty allegedly forced his way in and continued the assault, putting a plastic bag over Ms Travers' face.

'Petrified'

When she pulled the bag off her face, the accused allegedly tried to smother her with a quilt, and when she managed to pull the quilt off he was reported to have put duct tape over her mouth, until his mother pulled him away again.

The detective constable told the court there was only one entrance and exit to the property and the alleged victim had "no chance of escape".

Ms Travers fled to the living room and dialled 999 and left the phone off the hook, and at that stage Mr Doherty allegedly came into the room armed with a knife.

The court heard he pinned her to the ground with his knees, tried to stab her hands and "threatened to bite her nose off and hack her to pieces".

"He told her to touch the blade to see how sharp it was," the officer said, adding that Mr Doherty's mother was "petrified" and told police she feared that she herself would die.

The detective constable said that during police interview, Mr Doherty denied trying to stab or suffocate Ms Travers and told officers: "If I wanted to kill her, I would have."

'Disturbing'

The police objected to bail, telling the judge that the accused has a previous conviction for GBH following a stabbing incident in 1995.

Refusing the bail application on the grounds of witness interference, risk of flight and further offences being committed, the judge remanded Mr Doherty into custody to appear again on 20 August via videolink.

Describing the incident as a "degrading and terrifying assault," the judge said the 999 recording would "graphically outline the nature of the threats perpetrated by the defendant".

He added that "what is even more disturbing is that the second more serious incident occurred in the presence of the defendant's 80-year-old, ill mother."