A man who was beaten and sealed inside a wheelie bin after a drink and drug-fuelled party that lasted for days looked like he had been tortured, a court heard.
A police detective told Ballymena Magistrates’ Court that 20-year-old Adam Robinson suffered lacerations to his back, torso and limbs and was being treated in hospital for an injury to his liver.
“He looked like he had been tortured,” the detective constable said. “He is being held in hospital on suspicion of injury to his liver.”
District Judge Des Perry heard how Mr Robinson said he was viciously assaulted in the bathroom of an end terrace house at Dunclug Park in Ballymena’s Dunclug estate.
The PSNI officer added: “This was a drink and drug-fuelled party that lasted for a number of days. The injured party was viciously assaulted in the bath. That is his last memory. The next thing he remembers is waking up in a bin naked.”
The revelations emerged as two men aged 26 and a 20-year-old woman appeared in court charged in connection with the alleged attack.
Teri Lau, from Dunclug Park, David Roddy Patterson, from Glendun Drive, and Paula Wilson, from Millfield, all in Ballymena, are accused of attempted murder and false imprisonment.
The court heard how Mr Robinson was discovered on Tuesday by a couple out walking their dog in a wooded area near Sentry Hill, close to Dunclug. The bin had been pushed up against a tree and was sealed with parcel tape.
He was unsure how long he had been inside.
Mr Robinson told police he had been partying since last Tuesday and had little memory of the days leading up to the incident. However, he has named Lau as being involved in the alleged assault, the court was told.
The PSNI officer said: “He remembers being hit by Mr Lau while in the bath. He said there were two or three people or three or four people in the bathroom.”
During the brief hearing all three defendants sat in the dock and listened intently with their hands over their mouths. Lau has a tattooed neck and was wearing a navy tracksuit, while Patterson has cropped fair hair and was wearing a white T-shirt and jeans. They were handcuffed to prison guards.
Wilson, whose bleached blonde hair was scraped back into a knot at the top of her head, was wearing a navy track top and jogging bottoms.
A bail application for Patterson, who is unemployed, was refused after Judge Perry said he was concerned the defendant could interfere with witnesses.
His defence barrister Sean Doherty described the case against his client as “weak” and said there was a “murky background” to the case.
“At the moment it is a weak case against the defendant Patterson. He has an address with his mother and the court has at its disposal a variety of mechanisms to protect the public or prevent interference with the criminal process,” said Mr Doherty.
Rejecting the application, Judge Perry said: “The court is powerless ... if someone is intent on interfering with witnesses or the legal process.”
Wilson, whose occupation was unknown, was released on £500 bail under strict conditions that included an electronic tag and bans from Ballymena town, using or having a mobile telephone, travelling in a car and consuming alcohol or drugs.
She was ordered to live at an approved address with her uncle in Cullybacky, Co Antrim.
Defence lawyer Andrew Moriarty said he believed there was insufficient evidence against his client.
Mr Moriarty said: “The evidence connecting her is of an utterly tenuous nature.
“Even with the case that she was in the house, how there is sufficient evidence to ground a charge is somewhat beyond me. There is nothing else from a witness observed placing a person in the bin. There is no CCTV or anything. There is no suspected forensic link to this particular point.”
The court heard that Wilson was interviewed twice by police and had replied “no comment” during the second.
Police said a key witness, a female dog walker, saw a woman matching Wilson’s description walking away from a bin in the area. However, the defence barrister questioned the reliability of the evidence as the description included “dark locks”.
Mr Moriarty, who is also representing unemployed Lau, said no application for bail would be submitted on his behalf.
When proceedings started in courtroom number two, Mr Robinson’s father approached the dock and had to be told to sit down by security staff.
All three defendants were ordered to appear again at Ballymena Courthouse on October 3.