Alleged attacker ‘told police he would kill partner’

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Two alleged woman beaters accused of attacking their respective partners were refused bail during a weekend court sitting in Belfast.

Paul Emmanuel Austin, 37, was the first to appear in the dock of Belfast Magistrates’ Court, charged with repeatedly assaulting his partner on the 14th, 15th and 18th of this month, threatening to kill her, possessing a screwdriver with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm and attempting to “choke, suffocate or strangle” her.

A police officer told the court there were “strong objections” to Austin being granted bail as there was a fear that he would attack his “vulnerable” partner.

The PSNI officer revealed that, after he was charged and cautioned, Austin, from Locan Street in Belfast, declared: “She will die – I will kill her.”

Under cross examination, the policeman agreed there was a history of domestic violence but said he was not aware that Austin himself had previously alleged that he had been attacked.

Bail was refused amid fears that Austin would reoffend and District Judge Ken Nixon ordered him to appear again on December 29.

The second alleged violent partner to appear in the dock was 35-year-old Michael Hodgkinson, from Centenary House hostel, on Victoria Street in Belfast.

He was charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm on his partner, assaulting her and causing criminal damage to a mobile phone and a mirror on last Thursday and Friday.

Again, a police officer said he was “strongly objecting to bail”, describing the alleged incident as “extremely violent” and outlining how there was a record of domestic violence.

His solicitor submitted that Hodgkinson could be released to an address further away from his alleged victim but the officer said he still had concerns.

However, the officer accepted that he was not aware that Hodgkinson had alleged he was the victim of an attack but did not lodge a complaint about the alleged incident.

Refusing the bail application because of the likelihood of reoffending, Judge Nixon relisted the case for Monday to allow time for an alternative address to be found.

• There are a number of organisations dealing with domestic violence and supporting victims.

Anyone who feels in immediate danger should dial 999. PSNI domestic violence officers are available in all areas on 0845 600 8000 (ask to speak to the local domestic violence officer).

Women’s Aid can be contacted on 9024 9041.