Travellers' site 'melee' - two men in court

Two men have appeared at Londonderry Magistrates' Court on charges linked to a brawl at a travellers' site in Derry.

It happened at the Daisyfield site on the Letterkenny Road on 18 April.

Patrick McDonagh, 28, of 6 Daisyfield, was charged with criminal damage, making threats to kill and assaulting two women.

Gerard McDonagh, 30, of Woodville Street, Lurgan, was charged with criminal damage, assault, making threats to kill and having cannabis.

A police witness said they had received several 999 calls about a "large melee" at the site.

When they arrived, various people were on the streets, some of them bloodied and bruised.

The witness said they were given the names of both defendants and when they found Gerard McDonagh in bed he allegedly had a hatchet with him.

The officer said that it was alleged that both men were drinking with the injured parties and, without provocation, began assaulting the females in the caravan.

The melee spilled out into the streets, where one man was knocked unconscious after being hit with a bottle.

Both men were then alleged to have got into a car and driven into another caravan.

Defence solicitor Oliver Ruche said the complaints within the travelling community were often made but rarely followed through and said there were indications that the witnesses in this case would be withdrawing their statements.

Deputy District Judge Peter King said that there was a real threat of interference with witnesses and remanded both men in custody to appear again on 17 May.