West Belfast stabbing: Pair on attempted murder charges

editorial image

A teenage boy and a man have been remanded in custody accused of trying to kill a stab victim in west Belfast.

Leo Benson, 26, and the 17-year-old youth, who cannot be identified, appeared before magistrates in the city jointly charged with the attempted murder.

An 18-year-old man underwent emergency surgery for serious injuries allegedly inflicted in an attack on the Cullingtree Road early on November 1.

He remains in a critical condition at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

The teenage defendant is due back in court next week to mount an application for bail.

Benson, of Ross Street in the city, was denied release from custody after police claimed he poses a danger to the public.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard claims that he confronted the injured man armed with a knife.

A detective said the weapon allegedly used in the attack has not been recovered.

He also raised concerns for Benson’s safety should he be released.

A property connected to the defendant has been attacked since the incident, the court heard.

Defence counsel Luke Curran challenged the strength of witness evidence in the case.

He argued that a description of the supposedly bare-chested attacker’s tattoos did not match his client.

But the prosecution contended that it was a recognition case based on the length of time the witness claims to have known Benson.

Refusing bail, District Judge Peter King cited the risk of reoffending.

He remanded Benson in custody to appear again by video link on December 3.