A man accused of trying to kill four people in a “frenzied” knife attack inflicted “severe and savage wounds” with a Stanley knife, a court heard on Tuesday.
Newtownards Magistrates Court also heard claims that 46-year-old Matthew James Kane launched the “manic” attack after he saw his ex-partner in a bedroom with another man on Sunday.
Appearing in the dock wearing a grey tracksuit and in handcuffs Kane, from Central Promenade in Newcastle, spoke only to confirm that he understood the 10 charges against him.
He is accused of the attempted murders of Cathy Brodie, David Mullan, Gareth Templeton and Adam Rigby, possessing a Stanley knife at Queens Park in Saintfield, having a claw hammer with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, causing criminal damage to a door and a car windscreen, driving without a licence and theft of a golf club.
Giving evidence to the court, Detective Constable McKeever said he believed he could connect Kane to each of the charges and that police had objections to him being freed on bail amid fears that he would commit further offences, abscond or interfere with the investigation.
He outlined how Kane had been looking after the children of his ex-partner Laura Ramsey in a house close to where the incident took place and had been “trying to get a hold of her by text” and then calling her.
As a result of that call, Kane had inadvertently been able to listen to what was happening in Cathy Brodie’s house for 90 minutes before he walked there, said the officer, adding that when he did so, “he sees his ex-partner in a bedroom with another man”.
Kane went to the front door but Ms Brodie refused to let him in so he “grabbed her by the hair and trailed her out of the house and attacks her with a Stanley knife,” claimed the detective.
Her son Adam Rigby tried to intervene “to get him off his mum” but Kane then allegedly attacked him, allegedly slashing Mr Templeton across the throat when he tried to help.
“He has a slash across his throat four inches wide and two inches deep,” DC McKeever told the court, adding that had that wound been any deeper, “it would’ve cut his voice box and he probably wouldn’t talk again”.
He said Kane then went into the house, allegedly armed with a hammer, and a further fight took place but “eventually they get him out” where a neighbour comes out “to see what’s going on and sees Mr Kane attacking these people”.
“At that point he assaults the neighbour,” claimed the officer, describing how Kane “pins him to the ground and punched him” in the face while holding the knife “causing a large laceration to the side of his cheek”.
Having handed photographs of some of the wounds, District Judge Mark Hamill described that laceration as an “enormous gash from his ear to his mouth”.
Leaving the scene and going back to Ms Ramsey’s house, Kane rang her and told her she had to come and look after the children who were all asleep before driving off on a Volvo Car.
DC McKeever told the Court Kane handed himself in to police seven hours later having changed his clothes and taking the battery and SIM card from his mobile phone which police have yet to locate.
During police interviews, the detective said Kane claimed he had been acting in self-defence, claiming that Ms Brodie first attacked him with a golf club and that Mr Rigby hit him on the head with the butt of the Stanley knife.
He told Judge Hamill Kane he had sustained “minor injuries” to his face with bruising to his back and arm but had suffered no stab or slash wounds himself.
“The injured parties do say that they hit him with the club but they explain that they were trying to defend themselves,” said the detective. “They said that they believed he was wearing some kind of padding under his jacket but that’s not been proven.”
He continued that police objected to Kane being freed as “we are worried that should he get out, he has went on quite a frenzy here and we are worried that he will lose it again and try to get to hurt these people.”
DC McKeever revealed that in the aftermath of the attack, Kane transferred £720 into his brother’s bank account and police feared he may use those funds to abscond.
Police were also seeking a remand into custody “for his own protection,” said the detective, as this was “a unique event for the area to say the least and tensions are running high”.
Under cross examination from defence solicitor Richard Monteith, the officer confirmed that Kane had a limited record and had answered all police questions, putting forward his own version of events that he was acting in self-defence.
Judge Hamill commented however that “it’s very difficult to make out a case of self-defence when you go to their house....and the only people with knife wounds, and they’re severe, savage knife wounds, are the four complainants”.
Mr Monteith submitted that with an alternative address outside of Co Down and with a potential surety, Kane could be freed on bail as there will be “issues to be dealt with at the next stage, the trial stage”.
Judge Hamill remanded Kane into custody to appear again at Downpatrick Court via videolink on April 5.
“I’m concerned about the apparent manic level of violence in this case,” said the judge, “Even I’m shocked by these photographs.
“I’m concerned about the disposal of the mobile phone...I’m concerned about the transfer of funds into the brother’s account...taking it at its height, this was a frenzied level of violence and there can be no risk of any repetition,” declared Judge Hamill.