Robbers threatened to break a girl's finger unless her father told them where his safe was hidden, Londonderry Magistrates' Court heard on Monday.
The claim came as Simon Timoney of Leckpatrick Gardens, Artigarvan, Strabane appeared in court.
He was charged with attempted robbery, false imprisonment, going equipped for theft and aggravated burglary.
The charges relate to the attempted robbery of a house in Limavady on Friday.
A police witness said two masked men had forced their way into the property.
Mr Timoney was remanded in custody to appear by video link on 18 November.
The court was told that at about 9pm BST on Friday, police received a report of an incident at a house in Limavady.
When they arrived they saw the defendant being restrained on the ground by a man and his son-in-law.
The householder, a 61-year-old man, his wife, their daughter and 20-year-old autistic son had been in the house when two masked men entered by the front door.
The court heard that when the mother confronted them, they pushed her into the front room and made the family kneel down.
They asked where the safe was and the householder told them he did not have one.
The two males then tied the daughter's hands with cable ties and threatened to break her fingers one by one.
At this point, the son-in-law arrived at the house and saw the two masked men, the court was told.
He challenged them and jammed one of their arms in a door.
The intruders told him "if you don't get inside we'll shoot you".
A struggle ensued, one man escaped and the defendant was detained by the father and son-in-law.
Under questioning by police, Mr Timoney said he was told he had thought he was going on a legitimate job to "get money for Christmas".
He also claimed that he had been approached by what he described as "paramilitary types."
A police officer told the court that Mr Timoney had admitted being in the house and gave the names of three other males who have since been arrested but released pending further inquiries.
He added that a search of Mr Timoney's address had revealed a cable tie similar to those used in the robbery.
A defence solicitor said if his client had realised what was going on, he "would not have been within one hundred miles of it".
He said that Mr Timoney had been drinking heavily recently following the death of his parents last year, and described him as "a pathetic figure."
Remanding him in custody Deputy District Judge Ted McGill said he was concerned the defendant may commit further offences and there were legitimate fears he may not turn up for his trial.