Man ‘tortured and within hour of death’

A man who was kidnapped, tortured and stabbed with a hot knife was “within an hour from death” when he was fortuitously found dumped in a field, a court heard yesterday.

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 8:05 am
The man was discovered lying in a field next to a road outside Broughshane village in County Antrim.

Ballymena Magistrates’ Court also heard how the victim, who had been dumped near Broughshane wearing just his shoes and boxer shorts, was only spotted by bin men because of the height of the lorry.

A PSNI officer told the court that according to doctors, “the victim was within an hour from death from possible hypothermia or blood loss due to the injuries” having been dumped there at some stage from around 2am.

Two more men appeared in court yesterday charged with the victim’s kidnap and attempted murder.

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Appearing by video-link from police custody, David Philip Cherry, 39, and Sean Davies, 39, confirmed they understood the four charges against them.

Cherry, from Waveney Park in Belfast and Davies, from Queens Park in Saintfield, are jointly accused of attempted murder of a male, kidnapping the same alleged victim and arson of his Volvo car on October 11.

Cherry is further charged with possessing class C prescription drug diazepam on November 3 while Davies is accused of having class A cocaine on the same date.

Last week at the same court 36-year-old prominent loyalist David Coleman, from Fountain Street, and Mark Bradshaw, 51, from High Street, both in Ballymena, were remanded into custody on the same charges.

During a contested bail application yesterday the officer told the court that having been sedated in intensive care for more than two weeks, the victim made a statement to police on November 19 that Cherry and Coleman had “invited him” to Coleman’s flat “to pack cocaine” to repay a debt he owed to Coleman.

Once there, Cherry asked for his mobile phone and while he was going through its contents, “providing Mr Coleman with information from the phone to suggest the victim had been hacking customers’ phones and taking customers from Mr Coleman ... Mr Coleman has assaulted our victim.”

“Cherry has been present throughout this,” said the officer, “he had laughed along and had encouraged the assault, punching him once in the face.”

She said that according to the victim, Coleman had “produced a knife, heating it on a gas hob, stabbing the injured party in the chest, close to his heart and then putting the point of the knife into the victim’s mouth and slashing him deeply”.

The court also heard claims the victim was ordered to strip and “clean up his own blood” before being dumped in the field.

It was also revealed that the police are still seeking a fifth suspect.

Cherry and Davies were remanded into custody and the case adjourned to December 30.