Camper in Glens of Antrim '˜tried to strangle girlfriend'

A man accused of trying to strangle his girlfriend with a belt on a camping holiday in the Glens of Antrim had allegedly snapped over his level of drinking, the High Court has heard.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 31st October 2016, 2:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st November 2016, 9:24 pm

The woman claimed she feared she was going to die before escaping from the tent and walking nine miles in the middle of the night, a judge was told.

Details of the alleged attack in Waterfoot were disclosed as Mario Felloni applied for bail on a charge of attempted murder.

The 33-year-old defendant, of Cliftonpark Court in north Belfast, faces further counts of false imprisonment and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He was arrested after police received a report on August 4 about a distressed female with red marks on her neck and heavily bloodshot eyes.

She had approached another woman, claiming to have gone nine miles on foot following an attempt to choke her.

Kate McKay, prosecuting, said a doctor who examined her at Antrim Area Hospital concluded she had been “significantly strangled” in what was considered an attempt to murder her.

The woman, who is from the Cork area, later told police she had raised concerns about how much alcohol Felloni was drinking during their camping holiday.

“She stated that he snapped and put her to the ground inside the tent, put his hand around her neck and squeezed,” Mrs McKay said.

“She was lying on the ground looking up and tried to pull his fingers from her neck.”

According to the woman’s account she then urged Felloni to calm down.

The prosecutor continued: “She said he sat up and took his cloth belt off and put it around her neck, pulling tightly.

“She stated that she couldn’t speak and saw stars, describing how everything started to close and she thought she was going to die.”

The woman claimed she began to pass out before he released, allowing her to catch her breath.

When she asked to get out of the tent he allegedly replied “You’re going anyway”, which she took to mean he was going to kill her, the court heard.

“She said the applicant then asked ‘Do you want a fast way or a slow way?’ and then pushed her neck around as if to break her neck, and told her that was the fast way,” Mrs McKay added.

The woman described escaping after Felloni fell asleep later that night.

He was arrested a short distance away from the tent.

During interviews he denied using a belt or any attempt to choke the woman, but said he punched her up to six times after she slapped his face in an argument.

It emerged in court that the alleged victim has since made two further statements withdrawing her complaint against Felloni.

The woman denied being afraid of him and said she had drunk two bottles of wine and beer at the time she made the original allegations.

Defence counsel Barry Gibson stressed that she has since returned to Cork and doesn’t want to be part of any prosecution of his client.

“They met in Dublin, Mr Felloni had a brief relationship with this woman and they appeared to be camping in the Glens of Antrim over the summer where it seems a lot of alcohol was consumed,” he told the court.

Due to the alleged victim having withdrawn her complaint and left Northern Ireland Mr Justice Maguire said he was minded to grant bail.

But with no current address available, Felloni will remain in custody until a suitable location can be found.