Woman’s alleged domestic abuse injuries ‘were worst police officer had ever seen’

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An alleged domestic abuse victim had clumps of hair missing and arms covered in fresh and healing bruises, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors said a police officer described her injuries as the worst of their kind he had witnessed in his career.

Brendan O’Callaghan, 31, of Monog Road in Crossmaglen, Co Down, faces a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm to the woman.

The court was told she phoned 999 in a distressed state on January 1, but then apologised, said it had been a hoax and hung up.

When police called her back a man on another line could allegedly be heard telling her: “I warned you.”

According to the prosecution a PSNI constable went to O’Callaghan’s home, where the woman was intoxicated and claimed she had injured herself through being “clumsy”.

The officer stated that body-worn footage did not accurately reflect her injuries.

A mixture of old, yellow bruising and fresh marks allegedly ran the lengths of her arms.

Clumps of hair also appeared to be missing, a Crown lawyer said.

Referring to the officer’s statement, counsel continued: “The female appeared to be frightened and nervous, (she) asked me not to push it any more.”

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan heard the woman apologised for phoning and asked police to leave.

But the officer stated: “This is the worst level of injuries I have seen in my career from a domestic incident.”

Following O’Callaghan’s arrest the woman described him to police as “a psycho”, the court was told.

She later made a statement alleging domestic abuse dating back to before Christmas 2016.

Kevin Magill, defending, stressed his client only faces one charge relating to the suspected incident on New Year’s Day.

O’Callaghan is on bail, but returned to court seeking to have his electronic tag removed.

Mr Magill argued that it was a disproportionate condition due to the passage of time.

Refusing the variation request, however, Sir Declan said: “Mr O’Callaghan was very fortunate to get bail at all.”