Romanian man attacked after leaving bookies with his winnings

Northern Ireland- 25th July 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  

General views of the High Court in Belfast.
Northern Ireland- 25th July 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. General views of the High Court in Belfast.

Robbers allegedly attacked a Romanian man with a bicycle chain as he emerged from a south Belfast bookmakers with his winnings, the High Court heard today

Two men stole £700 in cash from the 39-year-old victim before fleeing from the scene on the Ormeau Road in June, prosecutors said.

Details emerged as bail was granted to one of the co-accused due to delays in the case.

Mr Justice Treacy stressed Stephen Gorman was only being released from custody because no explanation was available for the lack of progress.

Gorman, 29, of Lavinia Square in Belfast, faces charges of robbery and possession of an offensive weapon.

The victim had gone into Sean Graham bookmakers on June 10 to collect a £280 win.

Prosecution counsel Conor Maguire said two men targeted him when he came out, stealing the cash and a further £420 from his pocket.

Two other Romanian nationals came to the man’s aid after the robbers escaped.

All three alleged that one of the attackers had struck out with a bicycle chain, the court was told.

Mr Maguire said Gorman and his co-accused were linked by information that came to police attention.

CCTV footage from the scene allegedly shows the pair loitering outside the bookmakers and attacking the victim when he emerged.

Recordings also depict the two men sharing out cash in the foyer of a nearby health centre, according to the prosecution.

Gorman was arrested after attending a police station six days later.

His barrister, Sean O’Hare, accepted he has a case to answer but added: “It’s not accepted that a chain can be seen or that a chain was used.”

With Gorman having now served the equivalent of a one year sentence behind bars, the judge heard no final decision has been taken on how he will be prosecuted.

Mr Justice Treacy told him: “The only reason you’re being released on bail is because you have been in custody since June and there’s no obvious progress in your case.”

He ordered Gorman to have no contact with his co-accused, the victim or witnesses.