Man ‘tried to rob hotel with hammer’

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A man allegedly tried to rob a Belfast hotel armed with a hammer, a court has heard.

Paul Martin Stow, 43, is accused of mounting a bid to take cash from a safe at the Holiday Inn Express on University Street last Sunday.

Police also claimed he damaged CCTV camera equipment installed near his own home in the south of the city.

Stow, with an address at Lavinia Square, appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court charged with attempted robbery of the hotel, possessing an offensive weapon in public, and three counts of criminal damage.

Opposing bail, a detective constable claimed there was a risk of interference with witnesses in the case.

“One of them is a housing officer for Clanmil Housing, where the damage took place and where the defendant lives,” he said.

“The other being the security manager at the Holiday Inn where the (attempted) robbery took place.”

The court heard efforts are now being made to have Stow legally removed from the accommodation.

Defence counsel John O’Connor argued that his client has lived there for seven years.

But District Judge Fiona Bagnall insisted Stow would not be allowed to go back there.

She was told the allegations against the accused are based on CCTV identification.

“He didn’t make any admissions,” Mr O’Connor stressed.

The barrister said Stow, a father of two, was drunk when arrested and has been dealing with mental health difficulties.

“Last year he broke his leg and suffered from septicemia – he almost died and was in hospital for three months,” he added.

Bail was granted to an address to be approved by police.

Imposing a curfew, alcohol ban and exclusion zone, Mrs Bagnall ordered: “I expect that to include Clanmil Housing and also the Holiday Inn Express.”