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Burglar 'kneed woman in stomach' in west Belfast raid

image captionThe hearing took place at the High Court

A 64-year-old west Belfast woman just released from hospital was kneed in the stomach after finding burglars in her home, a court has heard.

She was also grabbed by the throat and pinned against a wall, prosecutors told the High Court.

In court on Tuesday was Daniel Doran, 22, a student, who was refused bail.

Mr Doran denies burglary with intent to steal, criminal damage and aggravated assault over the break-in at Springfield Park on 18 September.

A judge described the alleged crimes as being "as low as one can get".

The woman had just returned home from hospital treatment and came downstairs to allegedly find the accused and another man going through her belongings, the court heard.

Crown Counsel Philip Henry claimed: "This applicant grabbed her by the throat, kneed her in the stomach and pinned her against the wall."

The two men were then detained in the house by neighbours who came to the woman's aid, according to the prosecution.

While they were waiting for police, furniture was smashed up, including an urn, tables and antique clock, it was claimed.

Mr Henry alleged that Mr Doran, of Divismore Park, Belfast, had cash and jewellery belonging to the victim, while his co-accused emptied his pockets before police arrived.

'Dragged into house'

Mr Doran denied involvement in the burglary, and claimed instead to have been assaulted and then dragged into the house.

Paul McAlinden, defending, said Mr Doran claimed to have been out with friends and then walked past the victim's house where "there was already a commotion going on outside".

The barrister urged the judge to grant bail so his client could return to his art and design course at Belfast Metropolitan College.

However, Mr Justice Treacy said: "The court can have no confidence whatsoever if this applicant was released on bail he would comply with any conditions the court would impose."